Reporting Mike Fisher
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IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – The Dallas Cowboys opened their off-season workout program at Valley Ranch on Monday, and conspicuous in his absence was defensive tackle Josh Brent, who is facing intoxication manslaughter charges for the Dec. 8 death of practice-squad linebacker Jerry Brown.
“The more important thing for Josh right now is to focus on the issues at hand for himself,’’ Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan on Wednesday. “Obviously, he’s got some legal issues he’s going to be working through, not to mention all the personal issues that are involved with what he was involved with. That’s what he’s focused on right now.”
Brent is scheduled to stand trial in Dallas County on Sept. 23 and faces up to 20 years in prison (though many of these cases in Texas, especially when a friend or family member is victimized, result in no jail time).
Brent remains free on $100,000 bond and must wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet meant to record alcohol use.
There is no NFL bylaw preventing Brent from participating in workouts. Nor has he been suspended by the Cowboys. So as he awaits his trial (and a possible penalty handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell), Brent could conceivably join the team now, or for the mandatory minicamp in June, or even for training camp in July.
However, the Cowboys may have some sensitivity as to appearances after Brent appeared on the sideline during a game at Cowboys Stadium shortly after the accident.
“There are a lot of moving parts on that,’’ Jones said of the club retaining ties with Brent. “There are the legal issues that have to play out; the NFL is going to have a big say in this. There are a lot of things that have to take place but at the end of the day, that’s the least of our worries. Josh was involved in something that was very difficult and I think his focus right now is, as it should be, on something a lot more important than football, which is making sure his life is in order and addressing the challenges he is going to have in front of him over the coming months and years.’’
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