One thing many of us have noticed about the early returns from the Dallas Cowboys OTAs is that there are a lot of prospective rushmen that look like they can play the 3-technique defensive tackle spot, but not as many that look like really good fits for the 1-tech. In Rod Marinelli's scheme, the 3 is the more dynamic position, as Henry Melton showed when he was still playing for the Chicago Bears under Marinelli in 2012. But the scheme still needs someone to tie up two blockers from the 1 spot while hopefully still being able to push the pocket back to pressure the passer.
Dallas had a player like that before he self-destructed and tragically took the life of friend and teammate Jerry Brown in a wreck with him drunk at the wheel. Josh Brent was charged and convicted of Intoxication Manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years probation with 180 days in jail. Prior to the trial, Brent retired from football. But there was always a possibility he could apply to the NFL for reinstatement. It has long been believed (especially by me) that the Cowboys had a plan to give Brent another chance to play. No guarantees, but a shot to pick up the pieces of his life and make a living at playing football before his window of opportunity closes.
Brent is scheduled to be released from jail within two months, which is right about the time training camp will start. This week, the question was asked about bringing Brent back.
During the team's annual golf outing on Tuesday, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said the franchise wouldn't rule out bringing the 26-year-old back.
"We'll certainly look at that," Jones said. "The league will have a big say in when he can come back. We'll certainly evaluate that situation when it comes. But I certainly wouldn't rule it out."
What Jones is referring to about the league is whether there will be any suspension levied on Brent before he is allowed to play again, if he is reinstated. The reinstatement would most likely be approved, but there is no way to know what kind of additional penalty the NFL would deem appropriate. The Cowboys would likely argue that Brent has effectively already served a 20 game suspension since he was arrested, and that he should be forced to sit out no additional games, or at least the number should be reduced.
Of course, this all assumes that Brent is interested in returning to football. So far, he hasn't done anything to indicate such a desire.
Josh Brent's agent, Peter Schaffer, hasn't talked to the NFL about Brent returning to the league.— Rainer Sabin (@RainerSabinDMN) June 3, 2014
No indication there that Brent is going to try to return. Others are making their own bets on that.
Two quick predictions: 1) The Week 1 MLB is currently on the Cowboys roster and; 2) Josh Brent will attend training camp.— Jeff Sullivan (@SullyBaldHead) June 3, 2014
And there is always the chance that things are going on behind the scenes. In this case, that seems almost certain.
I've been told there is a good rehab plan for Josh Brent being put in place. Cowboys like what's happening and hope the NFL does too.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) June 3, 2014
Brent could be a solid part of the rushmen if he is able to get back into football shape in a short amount of time. There are still all those questions to be answered, as well as the one about whether it is really the right thing to do to bring him back after what happened. But the way the team supported Brent after the accident makes Jones' statement believable. He has received his punishment from the legal system, and will have fulfilled his obligation in that regard. Jerry Brown's family has offered their forgiveness and expressed a desire to see Brent get another opportunity to play.
What do you think? Should the Cowboys, who retain rights to him, give Josh Brent another chance at an NFL career? (We know this can be a sensitive subject, so please remain civil in the comments. Just because you believe one thing doesn't necessarily mean that it's the undisputed truth, so please show some self-control in this thread. Thanks!)