ARLINGTON—The Dallas Cowboys held their twelfth annual Cowboys Coaches Clinic in Cowboys Stadium Thursday afternoon. After introducing his head coach, Jason Garrett, owner and president Jerry Jones sipped his iced tea off to the side of the rostrum with the defining jumbotron as a backdrop. Not even ten minutes into the speech, a gentleman handed Jerry Jones his cell phone, and Jerry darted away from the scene as fast as a seventy year-old could.
When Garrett’s speech concluded, he also took a phone call. For the media and fans at the event following social media, they knew what Jerry and Jason were probably informed on the phone: Josh Brent called it quits.
“I think that, in my mind, it speaks for itself,” Jones said in the privacy of one of the club lounges away from the Coaches Clinic. “He’s basically wanting to concentrate on where he should be concentrating on in his life. This allows him, in my mind, to do that.”
Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent (92) on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
“Football is important to a lot of us,” Garrett, who had coached Brent in 31 of his 39 career games, offered. “It’s important to Josh, but there are other things more important and that’s what he needs to do right now for himself. It’s a good decision. You got to take it one day at a time and get himself going to get his life back together.”
Brent could use all of the good decisions he can en route to putting his life back together after ruining it on one fateful December night in 2012. Even after inadvertently killing his best friend, Jerry Brown, in a drunk driving accident, Brent has had his bond revoked twice for failing drug tests. Brent’s bad behavior set new lows for what constituted “rock bottom” all the while embarrassing the Cowboys brand. Why would the Cowboys keep around a dreg like this who wouldn’t take steps to keep his life from becoming more of an unbearable tragedy?
“I promised Jerry’s mother that we would support Josh in every way that we could and wanted to,” Jerry Jones said. “And our team sentiment supports him and we just wanted to do everything we can to help him off the field — off the field considerations for his future. That’s been our only thought since the accident is to support him and support our team supporting him.”
“What you try to do is just try to understand what the situation was to be supportive as an organization,” Garrett added. “We made that commitment to Jerry Brown’s mom. We made it to Josh. We tried to help him any way we can. It’s a very, very difficult situation. And he’s trying his best to get his life back in order.”
The optimistic would say this could help show a Dallas County judge that Brent is solemn about putting his life back together. The cynical would say this is the avant-garde way to players to evade the suspensions from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. In any event, the owner and the coach think it’s a good decision for the twenty-five year old train wreck.
Jerry and Garrett had conflicting stories on advising Josh Brent to retire. Jerry claimed to have recently visited with Brent for “twenty minutes,” while Garrett claimed he never specifically spoke to Brent about retiring. This begs many questions, notably where Josh Brent got the idea to retire and from whom.
Are Jerry and Jason on the same page when it comes to grid iron aspirations for Josh Brent?
“I don’t know,” Jones stated. “I wouldn’t want to speculate on that. He certainly has the ability to, but let’s focus on where it’s got to be focused.”
“I think all of that is premature. He’s just trying to get his life back together,” Garrett responded.
Brent’s life is more disordered than the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214. Whether the decision to retire arose from his own heart or was whispered into his ear for months, Josh Brent’s retirement undoubtedly benefits the Dallas Cowboys. The path of least resistance led to the most rewards for the Cowboys. Not only does the PR nightmare of keeping an open-and-shut guilty player disappear, but they also retain his rights should he return to the NFL.
As one storyline reaches hiatus, a million more commence Sunday in Oxnard.