IRVING, Texas -- As only outspoken owner Jerry Jones could put it, he hopes Josh Brent can be a better football player when he returns to the Dallas Cowboys because of the time spent in jail for the drunken-driving death of teammate Jerry Brown.
"When you on Monday are given a roll of toilet paper and it's got to last you until next Monday, that's a lesson of discipline," Jones said Tuesday in an interview with 105.3 The Fan. "That's a lesson of life. That's what happened to Josh.
"When you have someone next door to you that grabs your plate of food and you weigh 340 pounds but you don't mess with him -- he just looks at you, because you know that guy doesn't care if you live or die -- that's a life experience. I think there's a chance that Josh Brent may come out here and have a perspective that none of us have seen before, especially from Josh."
Brent, a defensive tackle who has a roster spot with the Cowboys waiting for him once he is reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, was sentenced to 180 days in Dallas county jail in January on a conviction of intoxication manslaughter. Brent, 26, was released in June. A judge allowed him to serve the final 45 days of his sentence in an addiction rehabilitation facility.
He also was sentenced to 10 years' probation for the December 2012 crash that killed Brown, a Cowboys practice squad player. The two were college teammates at the University of Illinois.
Jones believes that Brent, if in shape, can be an immediate contributor for the Cowboys, perhaps making an even bigger impact than before his arrest and eventual one-year absence from football.
"He's had that [life-changing] experience," Jones said. "He deserved that, and some people think he deserved more, but the point is he has been through some eye-opening days. We could really benefit from that as a football team."
"In a totally and completely different way -- and I'm going to make sure everybody understands it is a completely different way, if you understand what I'm saying," Jones continued, "Chad Hennings joined the Dallas Cowboys and he had actually flown in Desert Storm single-pilot jets. Had actually had a crash in single-pilot jets. Chad Hennings had developed a discipline and developed a work ethic that made him a man among boys, and he was a major contributor technically [and] physically but, boy, was he a contributor being an example of work ethic and an appreciation for the job you've got.
"It's a shame that all athletes to some degree can't have some of these life experiences and really have an appreciation for what a great opportunity it is to play in the National Football League. But Josh has had that, I think."