As if the 2014 Dallas Cowboys hadn’t provided enough storylines, here comes disgraced nose tackle Josh Brent. The team has shown more loyalty to him than to players who’ve actually made significant impacts on the organization.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones re-signed Brent the moment he was cleared by the league to resume his career. A linebacker named Tim Dobbins was released Tuesday to make room for Brent on the 53-man roster. I’ve always thought he was entitled to continue his NFL career after serving his sentence for intoxication manslaughter. But he would’ve been better off with a different organization. Brent will be working just a few miles from where he contributed to his close friend Jerry Brown Jr’s death. He might not see it this way, but the Cowboys would’ve been doing him a favor to let another team offer him a fresh start.
Now, the Cowboys have to waste time trying to integrate a player who will likely have little or no impact this season. The benevolent Jerry has even signed Brent to a contract extension through the 2015 season. I’m only surprised Jones didn’t include some guaranteed money in the deal.
Head coach Jason Garrett did a valiant job of leading this team to a win over the Bengals on the Sunday after Brown’s death two years ago. Maybe he wants Brent back just as much as Jerry does…but I doubt it. Coaches don’t like messing with a formula that seems to be working. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and his band of misfits have exceeded anyone’s expectations. This defense has shown vast improvement despite losing talented players such as Sean Lee, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. There’s no need to take part in the rehabilitation of Brent’s image at this crucial point in the season.
"He’s got to get his weight down," Garrett said of Brent on Tuesday. "He’s got to get more into football shape. But the move we’re going to make is to put him on the 53 and see where he is here for the next couple of weeks."
The Cowboys would’ve preferred a roster exemption for Brent while he rounds himself into shape, but that’s not available because he’s been practicing. The organization certainly didn’t want him to miss out on the cultural experience of London.
The need for Brent has diminished with each win this season. If he was some type of core player for this defense, it might be easier to understand the fuss the Cowboys have made over him. That’s not the case.
He’s too overweight to play football right now. Maybe if he was so serious about this "second chance," he would be closer to his playing weight.
But he knew from the time he reported to prison that Jones would hold a spot for him. Brent will take up a spot on the 53-man roster for the next six games.