It was reported on Thursday that Dallas Cowboys offensive guard Ronald Leary was going to trial on DWI charges stemming from a September 2012 traffic stop. In addition to the fact that this highlighted the rash of drunken driving problems Cowboys players had at the time (the tragic death of Jerry Brown and Josh Brent's drunken manslaughter arrest would happen in December, followed in January by the DWI arrest of Jay Ratliff), it also presented the chance that the Cowboys could lose the services of Leary for one or more games, as was stated in the original article that broke the story.
Dallas attorney Pete Schulte says Leary could be facing an NFL suspension on top of any legal punishment.
On Friday, Calvin Watkins reported that suspension is not in the cards. He cites an anonymous source, but also offers this explanation for why Leary is not expected to miss games because of the trial.
When an NFL player is charged with a DWI offense, he's placed into the league's substance abuse program. Once that player completes the program, the league considers the legal matter over based on the facts of any particular case.
There is no word on the penalties he might face from the courts. I consulted Blogging The Boys' legal staff, otherwise known as fellow FPW and attorney Dawn Macelli. While stating that she is not a criminal attorney, she did offer this take:
If the ADA can secure a conviction in this case, jail time would be highly unlikely. The penalties for first offense in Texas include a maximum of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2000 AND a loss of driving privileges for 90-180 days.
It appears that Leary will be available to the Cowboys throughout the preseason and regular season, based on the current trial date.
Unless there is some kind of delay or postponement, this should be wrapped up before training camp starts about a week later. All the delays and postponements look less sinister now. The rescheduling actually work out pretty well for both Leary and the team, so it may have been something his side engineered. However it came about, it now looks to be something that will have minimal impact on the Cowboys. Hopefully, it also will drive home a badly needed lesson to Leary and all his teammates.