The Dallas Cowboys announced Friday that defensive tackle Josh Brent has retired.
It’s the second time in less than two years that Brent has retired. He also retired in July 2013 before he went to trial for intoxication manslaughter for his drunken-driving accident that took the life of teammate and friend Jerry Brown Jr. in December 2012.
Brent, 27, resumed his playing career last season for the Cowboys. He was reinstated to the league, but had to serve a 10-game suspension.
Brent had been working out on a daily basis at Valley Ranch. He said in a statement, however, that football simply wasn’t a “top priority” for him anymore.
“It is with careful consideration, much thought and reflection that today I announce my retirement from the NFL,” the statement said. “I have not taken this decision lightly, as my time in the NFL and as a member of the Dallas Cowboys has been the opportunity of a lifetime. Two of the greatest institutions in sports are the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys and I am humbled, honored and blessed to have been a part of both.
“I have made the decision that football isn’t as much of a priority in my life as other things at this time.”
Brent ended up seeing action in only one game, at Chicago in Week 14 in which he had two tackles. He didn’t play the rest of the season as he dealt with injuries.
Brent had been expected to compete for playing time again this season.
“I visited with Josh yesterday, and he decided to retire from the NFL at this point, and he’s going to focus on continuing to get his life back in order,” coach Jason Garrett said.
“I admire Josh in a lot of ways for coming back from a really significant situation in his life. It’s not easy. He’s worked very hard to find some normalcy in his life at this point, and I think he wants to focus on that right now. We wish him nothing but the best, and we’re here to support him in any way we can.”
Added teammate Nick Hayden: “I was a little surprised by it, but he’s got to do what’s right for him, so I wish him well and just hope the best for him.”
The Cowboys announced other moves along with Brent. They waived linebacker Troy Davis and offensive tackle Donald Hawkins, and also released linebacker Dekoda Watson.
They also formally announced signing 12 undrafted free agents: Running back Synjyn Days; wide receivers George Farmer, Antwan Goodley, Deontay Greenberry, Nick Harwell and Lucky Whitehead; defensive backs Jason Wilson, Ray Vinopal and Joel Ross; tight end Ray Hamilton; quarterback Jameill Showers; and offensive linemen Shane McDermott, and Daniel Quave.
Early exit for Gregory
Second-round pick Randy Gregory trotted off the field during Friday’s afternoon practice, looking woozy.
Garrett said Gregory, as well as wide receivers Lucky Whitehead and Deontay Greenberry, all were dealing with heat-related issues.
Gregory complained about the heat after the morning practice.
“The tempo’s not much different than in college,” Gregory said. “The heat is what was getting me. Actually kind of cramping up when we got to special teams. Just got to hydrate more.”
Team signs two
The Cowboys reached agreements with fifth-round pick Ryan Russell and seventh-round pick Mark Nzeocha on Friday.
Russell will receive a signing bonus of $202,988, and Nzeocha will get $64,348.
Russell, a defensive end from Purdue, had 10 sacks and 33 tackles for loss in his college career. Nzeocha, a linebacker from Wyoming, had 59 tackles and two sacks in an injury-shortened, seven-game season last year.
Nzeocha continues to work his way back from an ACL injury, and did not participate in the first day Friday of the team’s rookie minicamp.
Trading first pick in ’16?
Owner Jerry Jones is feeling pretty confident that the draft and free-agent moves have upgraded the talent on a Cowboys team which finished 12-4 last season before losing in the NFC divisional playoffs.
While he won’t talk Super Bowl, Jones believes the time is now set to go for it, with quarterback Tony Romo, 35, still playing at high level at the latter part of his career.
And to compete for a Super Bowl, Jones said he would consider trading next year’s No. 1 pick to acquire a veteran player.
“I’d be reluctant to, but certainly if the right situation came along that could improve us now, with where we are with Romo, his career and where we are with what we’ve put together, it’s a good time to go for it,” Jones said during an appearance Friday morning on KRLD/105.3 FM.
His statement probably will continue to fan the flames of rumors of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson being traded to the Cowboys.
Peterson wants out of Minnesota and has expressed interest on more than one of occasion about joining the Cowboys.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760