IRVING, Texas — The presence of Josh Brent on the Dallas Cowboys’ sideline during Sunday’s game was a surprise to team officials. But it is a surprise that will not repeat itself.
The Cowboys have banned Brent from joining his teammates on the sidelines for any of the team’s remaining regular-season games, Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan reported on Monday.
Brent — on the NFL’s Non-Football injured reserve list after having been charged with intoxication manslaughter two weeks ago in the car crash that killed teammate and best friend Jerry Brown — attended Sunday’s overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the urging of teammates. Embracing Brent in this manner, the Cowboys’ players believe, is following the wishes of Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, who has asked the club to treat the nose tackle “like family.”
A handful of Cowboys defensive players who are on IR made the decision to bring Brent to the game, one of them driving to Brent’s home to pick him up, according to a source close to Brent. When the CBS telecast of the game showed Brent on the sideline, he came to the conclusion that he might be causing a distraction. Brent then left the game in the third quarter.
A report that aired Monday on The Fan stated that had management been made aware of the players’ intentions of bringing Brent to the game, a more “politically correct” plan might have prevailed. Such a plan will be in place going forward — a plan that includes the Cowboys having personnel alongside Brent this weekend, when the Cowboys play the Saints, in part due to concerns about Brent’s mental state.
“Our team and our players wanted him today on the sideline,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on Sunday 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.”
But a day later, Cowboys brass expressed more sensitivity to the argument against Brent being so visible on the sidelines.
“It becomes a real sensitive topic to a lot of people when you’re in a public place like the game,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said on Monday. “There were no bad intentions other than to support Josh as part of our football team, (saying) ‘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.”
In a court appearance on Tuesday, a judge ordered Brent to wear an electronic ankle monitor while also lowering his bond from $500,000 to $100,000.