- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI -- Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was set to make his sixth start of the season Sunday. Instead he will post bond from an Irving, Texas, jail after being charged with intoxicated manslaughter after a car accident in which teammate Jerry Brown was killed early Saturday morning.
If found guilty, Brent could face two to 20 years of prison time.
According to Irving police, Brent's car was traveling at a high rate of speed on a State Highway 114 service road before it hit the outside curb at approximately 2:30 a.m. The car flipped at least one time and skidded an estimated 900 feet before coming to rest in the middle of the service road, police said.
When the police arrived, Brent was attempting to pull Brown, a practice squad linebacker, from the burning Mercedes.
Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz said officers conducted a field-sobriety test on Brent and arrested him.
Brown was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 25.
"I am devastated and filled with grief," Brent said in a statement through his agent, Peter Schaffer. "Filled with grief for the loss of my close friend and teammate, Jerry Brown. I am also grief-stricken for his family, friends and all who were blessed enough to have known him. I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life. My prayers are with his family, our teammates and his friends at this time."
Argumaniz said Brent was being held without bond. Brent, a three-year veteran, was booked in the Irving city jail at 4:14 a.m. Saturday. His bond will be set Sunday morning.
"We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "At this time, our hearts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry's family and all of those who knew him and loved him."
Jones on Sunday said he had spoken with Brown's mother.
In an interview Sunday morning with Fox Sports, Jones said the Cowboys' focus has been on Brown since his death.
"Our team loved him. They certainly are conscious of him and want his family to know and have as much of them as they can give," he said. "At the same time, they know that one of the best things they can do for him and his memory is to come to the game today, is go out and play well."
There was a moment of silence before Sunday's game at Cincinnati to honor Brown. The Cowboys were expected to have a moment of silence in the locker room before the game as well.
Police received 911 calls from motorists who saw the upside-down vehicle, but they did not immediately have any eyewitnesses to the wreck, Argumaniz said.
Argumaniz wasn't sure if the vehicle was a car or an SUV and said it wasn't known how fast the vehicle was travelling. The road has a 45 mph limit.
"I can say investigators are certain they were traveling well above the posted speed limit," Argumaniz said.
A call to Brown's agent has not been returned.
Shortly after 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the Cowboys quietly filed into the Hilton Netherlands Plaza only hours after learning of Brown's death. With their thoughts on Brown, Few Cowboys acknowledged the fans cheering at the top of a stairwell.
Players were made aware of the accident at their Valley Ranch facility in the morning and told of Brown's death by coach Jason Garrett on the team plane at approximately 1:15 p.m. after non-team personnel were asked to de-plane.
Team spokesman Rich Dalrymple said the flight was "quiet, much more than normal."
"We're all just trying to get focused for tomorrow," backup linebacker Alex Albright said. "Guys are really just focused on football and coach (Jason Garrett) did a good job of addressing, we need to remember Jerry and what's happened, but our season is still on the line and we still need to go forward and work toward that season we want to have."
The team has been in contact with the NFL and Dr. Jacqualene Stephens, the Cowboys' mental health consultant, made the trip with the team to Cincinnati.
"We have been in contact with the Cowboys and have deployed staff members and our independent professional counselors to assist the team in dealing with this tragedy," the NFL said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jerry Brown and extend our condolences to his family, friends, and the Cowboys organization."
Brent had been starting for the Cowboys with nose tackle Jay Ratliff sidelined by a groin injury. The Cowboys promoted nose tackle Rob Callaway off the practice squad Saturday and placed Orlando Scandrick on injured reserve.
"I liked Jerry a lot," Albright said. "Got to know him these past five weeks and he's a really quiet kid but after the first couple of weeks he really opened up and Coach pointed it out: he came to work every day, didn't complain, he never gave any guff. He was just always ready to work and I liked Jerry a lot and that's all I can say. It's just tough not having him here."
The Cowboys signed Brown to their practice squad Oct. 24, but he hasn't been on the active roster. He was released from the Colts' practice squad Oct. 20. Brown played in one game for the Colts, a loss to the New York Jets on Oct. 14.
"Sad news for the Illini #Family today," Illinois coach Tim Beckman tweeted. "Jerry Brown, former Illini and current NFL player has passed away. Keep him in your prayers."
Former Illinois coach Ron Zook said Brent was trying to help Brown make it in the NFL.
"It was Jerry's dream, and Josh was trying to help him any way he could," Zook said.
Zook said he spoke with Schaffer, who had made contact with Brent.
"He said Josh was distraught, and he didn't care about himself or what was happening to him," Zook said. "All he cared about was Jerry's family."
Cora Daniel, the grandmother of Brown's fiancee, Leslie Hernandez, said the couple met at the University of Illinois.
"Jerry was a beautiful person I couldn't say anything bad about Jerry at all," Daniel said.
"He was the first guy she ever introduced to me and her grandfather to," Daniel said. "So we knew he would be the guy she would marry."
This is the second time since 2003 a Cowboys player has been involved in a fatal car accident. On Jan. 14, 2003, Dwayne Goodrich, a second-round pick in 2000, was involved in a hit-and-run accident in which two people were killed.
Goodrich was convicted later that year of two counts of criminally negligent homicide and was released from prison in October 2011.
Information from ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon, ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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