OXNARD, Calif. -- A couple of high-profile former Dallas Cowboys with controversial pasts will serve as members of Josh Brent's unofficial advisory committee as the defensive tackle attempts to make a comeback with the team.
Michael Irvin and Nate Newton, who are known for their starring roles on the Cowboys' three Super Bowl title teams in the 1990s and various off-field incidents, offered to be part of Brent's support system after his December 2012 arrest on intoxication manslaughter charges stemming from the crash that killed friend and teammate Jerry Brown Jr.
Brent, who retired before the 2013 season, will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell next week and hopes to resume his career with the Cowboys. He was released Tuesday from an addiction rehabilitation system, where he was allowed to serve the end of a jail sentence.
"All you can do is give him support and try to direct him in the right way," said Newton, who served prison time on marijuana charges after his NFL career was over and now works in the Dallas media. "Let him know that what he's doing is a great thing and can only benefit him and the Cowboys alike. I'm a realist, man. Don't get caught up in, 'We love you.' Get caught up in, 'I've got a second chance. Do I love myself?' That's who you've got to love.
"If you love and respect yourself, then the Cowboys are going to benefit. If you don't love and respect yourself, the first person that's going down is you. For the Cowboys, you're just another story. Unfortunately, it can be a sad story. Or it can be a great story."
The Cowboys have been consistent in their support of Brent, who also served jail time in college on a drunken-driving charge. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said that Brent deserves a second chance in the NFL and that the Cowboys would seriously consider signing the defensive tackle if the league office clears him to play.
Irvin and Newton reached out to Brent through David Wells, who has taken a leading role in Brent's support system. Wells, a former bail bondsman, has a long history of working with troubled Cowboys, including Irvin, Newton, Adam Jones, Dez Bryant and others.
Newton and Irvin, who was suspended for five games in 1996 after a no-contest plea to a felony cocaine possession charge, believe they can help Brent because they can empathize with dealing with personal problems in the spotlight of playing for the Cowboys.
"How do we think we can help this kid? There's going to come some dark days and there's going to come some times when the old taste or the old thirst is going to come back," said Newton, who added that Irvin has taken a more active role than him in Brent's comeback bid. "I told him, 'You've got my number, man. Call me, I'll answer the phone. Same with Mike. Call me. Have somebody out there who can feel kind of what you're feeling when you're having some of those down times.'
"Because there's going to be some times in his life, especially when he's a Cowboy, where things are going to get stressful. And you've got to have somebody you can call, man, and talk it through and tell people what you're feeling and don't worry about hearing it again."
Newton said he has encouraged Brent to embrace the off-field help the Cowboys have offered him, although he needs to understand that it's because he has the ability to help the franchise on the field.
"Don't fool yourself," Newton said. "This is a great opportunity for basically one reason: You're a talent. You are a talent. See, people will fool you and say they're doing this because you're a great person, but that's not true. That's not true. They're doing it because you're a talent.
"Now, you've got to take advantage of those people that are taking advantage of your talent. Let them put a support system around you. Let them help you. In the end, both sides win. If you fail, both sides lose."