Jones: 'Brent deserves an opportunity'

OXNARD, Calif. -- Jerry Jones thinks Josh Brent, the former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle who recently completed a jail sentence stemming from the drunken-driving death of a teammate, deserves a chance to resume his football career.

The Cowboys will consider giving Brent that opportunity.

"We have stood with Josh Brent from the very beginning and continue to," said Jones, who gave Brent a job operating a forklift in the team's apparel warehouse last year. "Josh Brent deserves an opportunity. He has made a terrible mistake. He knows it. I know firsthand he has contrition. I know that. And so, yes, I will consider giving him an opportunity."

Brent spent five months in jail for the December 2012 wreck that killed Cowboys practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown, the defensive tackle's former Illinois teammate and close friend. A judge ordered Brent, who also served jail time in college due to a drunken-driving arrest, to complete a stint of at least in a substance abuse rehabilitation facility as part of his 10-year probation sentence. Brent remains in the rehabilitation facility as the Cowboys open training camp.

Brent, 26, announced his retirement at the beginning of last year's training camp. He can apply for reinstatement through the NFL office if he chooses.

If Brent decides to return to football, commissioner Roger Goodell would have to decide whether to discipline him under the league's personal conduct policy. Goodell could also determine that Brent's retirement essentially served as a one-year suspension.

According to a source close to Brent, a decision has not been made on his future and will be based only on what the health care providers is best for him.

From a pure football standpoint, the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Brent could help a Dallas team that needs as much depth and talent on the defensive line as it can get. He might be the best run-stopping defensive tackle on the roster if the Cowboys re-signed him.

But does a man who has served two jail stints have the kind of character the Cowboys want?

"I think we go to ask the other side of the question," Jones said. "Do you get a chance to start over? Do we believe in paying your dues and getting a chance to start over? That's the other side of that.

"Principally in this country, we believe in giving an opportunity to pay your dues and pay your penalty and move forward. I don't know the detail of where he is or on what basis we even have to consider him rejoining the team, but it will be certainly be something I consider."