As the Dallas Cowboys open the off-season program Monday, one big question is whether they will be joined by defensive tackle Josh Brent, who is facing intoxication manslaughter charges for the Dec. 8 death of practice-squad linebacker Jerry Brown.
Brent will stand trial in Dallas County on Sept. 23 and faces up to 20 years in prison.
He remains free on $100,000 bond and must wear an electronic ankle bracelet.
But because he is not suspended by the Dallas Cowboys or the NFL, Brent could join the rest of his teammates for not only the voluntary off-season program, but the mandatory mini-camp in June as well as training camp in July.
There is no chance Brent will play for the 2013 Cowboys. But the team or the league has yet to rule officially on his status, opening the door for him to presumably participate in team activities in the interim. His $630,000 salary still counts against the salary cap.
RELATED: Stephen Jones – ‘More important’ for Josh Brent to focus on legal issues right now
The state of limbo that Josh Brent is in when his comes to his status with the Cowboys may not be resolved any time soon. Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said during a radio interview on KRLD-FM The Fan on Tuesday that it was “more important” for Brent to focus on his legal and personal issues stemming from a December car crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown Jr. than worry about the team’s off-season programs.
“The more important thing for Josh right now is that he focus on the issues at hand for himself,” Jones said. “Obviously, he has some legal issues that he’s going to be working through, not to mention all the personal issues that are involved with what he was involved with. I think that’s what he’s focused on right now.”
Brent is no longer a part of the team’s active roster after being moved to the reserve/non-football injury list shortly after the accident. He’s still technically a member of the team, but he was not at voluntary workouts on Monday, and Jones wouldn’t specifically address Brent’s status with the team.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to that at the end of the day,” Jones said. “There’s the legal [side]. Some issues have to play out. Obviously, the NFL is going to have a big say in this. So there’s a lot of things that have to take place.
“But at the end of the day, that’s the least of our worries. Josh obviously was involved in something that was very difficult and I think his focus right now is – as it should be, a lot more important than football – which is making sure his life’s in order and addressing the challenges that he’s going to have in front of him over the coming months slash years.”
PHOTO: Josh Brent (left) and his attorney George Milner spent half an hour at the Dallas County courthouse for an announcement hearing, February 7, 2013 in Dallas, TX. The court appearance was an informal discussion, the attorney said to the dozen reporters and photographers gathered there. Brent is charged in connection with a December 8 crash that killed Cowboy’s practice squad member and friend Jerry Brown Jr. (Courtesy: Evans Caglage | DMN Staff Photographer)