Big Decision: Jason Garrett must deftly handle Jerry Brown tragedy

December, 9, 2012
12/09/12
8:28
AM ET
Jason Garrett's biggest decision this week has zero to do with football.

It's all about how he handles the tragedy of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown's death and the arrest of nose tackle Josh Brent for intoxication manslaughter.

The Cowboys know they need to win their last four games to have a realistic shot at the playoffs, so this is a huge game.

But Garrett also knows he must give his players an opportunity to grieve for the loss of two teammates - one who is gone forever and another who is gone indefinitely.

Will he focus on the two players in a pre-game speech? Or he will he mention them in passing and discuss in detail what the Cowboys must do on the field to win the game?

Will he encourage them to hang the jerseys of both players in their lockers? Or just Brown's jersey.

These are difficult decisions and the choices Garrett makes can determine whether his team functions with some sort of normalcy, if that's possible.

The game is important. Life, obviously, trumps any game.

Garrett must handle this situation deftly to maintain the respect of his players and get the best performance possible in the most difficult crisis he's ever faced as a head coach.
Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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