Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent, who is charged with intoxication manslaughter as the driver in a one-car accident that resulted in the death of teammate Jerry Brown, is seeking the support of his team to get through his troubled times.
Brent is on the reserved non-football injury list. But at the behest of several teammates, according to ESPN, he showed up at the Cowboys’ game Sunday against Pittsburgh. His presence was a surprise to coach Jason Garrett, who had a conversation with Brent the day before the game.
“I actually talked to Josh on Saturday and visited with him over the phone for a little while, just checked in with him to see how he was doing, if he needed anything from us,” Garrett said. “Again, he was working through a lot of different things in his life, and just to let him know we support him. Our players have been over to his house, and they’ve been in contact with him and very close to him.
:So, you know, I didn’t actually know he was going to be at the game. But again, we’re trying to handle it day by day and work our way through it. We’ll have some more discussions about that going forward.”
Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, has been at the forefront of the Cowboys’ support of Brent. She asked the players at a memorial service for her son to do as much as they could to keep Brent involved with the team.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys have said it will support Brent, while, at the same time, emphasizing that they do not condone drinking and driving.
Brent was on the sidelines for most of the Steelers game, but left in the third quarter because he didn’t want to be a distraction, Garrett said. The Cowboys were criticized during the broadcast of the game for allowing Brent on the sidelines.
“It becomes a real sensitive topic to a lot of people when you’re in a public place like the game,” Garrett said. “There were no bad intentions other than to support Josh as part of our football team. This is a game and you need to be here. That’s what our players wanted to convey to him and they really encouraged him to come to the game. I thought Josh handled it beautifully the way that he came and then when he felt like there were some issues he felt the right thing to do was to leave. But we’re going to support him in every way that we can. We also will be sensitive to this kind of issue.”
Brent watched his teammates warm up and in the locker room he spoke to several players offering encouragement. Brent stood behind the players during the national anthem with Brown’s jersey over his shoulder.
“Our team and our players wanted him today on the sideline,” Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said following Dallas’ 27-24 victory. “Jerry’s mother asked us directly as a group. She said, ‘Support him. Help him. He needs your help. Jerry wants that. I want that.’ His teammates asked him to come and be down there with them, and that’s where we are.”
“I do know that certainly that there’s the other side of the coin, but this is a case that the people that arguably he’s the closest to really wanting him around for him.”