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December 12, 2012

Commissioner Goodell expects to speak to Josh Brent soon, but legal process will "move forward" before league discipline determined

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that he expects to speak to Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent soon. But since the team moved Brent to the reserved non-football injury list, Goodell will take his time in disciplining Brent.

"Because he’s not active and he will not be involved with the club, I think we’ll allow the legal process to move forward a little bit and get a little more clarity on that front," Goodell said at the NFL owners meetings in Irving.

Brent was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter in the death of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown. Brent was the driver in a single-car wreck that killed Brown, a passenger in Brent's car.

Goodell met with Debbie Weir, the chief executive officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, after arriving in DFW on Tuesday night. He also has talked to NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith on Tuesday about further steps the league can take in stopping its players from drinking and driving.

"I met with Debbie last night," Goodell said. "We talked through a lot of the issues and what we can be doing differently from a programmatic standpoint, what we can be offering in resources to our players, and what we can do be doing for the broader issue on the national scope. Yesterday, I also spoke to DeMaurice about what we should be doing in this area also, again focusing on education. How do we help our players understand the issues, have the resources to make better decisions, plan ahead …and of course discipline. I don’t think it’s a secret that the discipline in this area needs to be revisited and escalated on a first offense and a second offense. Hopefully that never happens, but I think it’s very important to have that."

The Cowboys made the decision to put Brent on the reserve non-footall injury list after consulting with the league. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett repeatedly has said the team will provide support to Brent as he copes with the death of his best friend.

"Ultimately, it’s a club decision," Goodell said. "We talked about it internally, with our staff. The club, as I say, is ultimately responsible for any roster movements, and they had made a determination that putting him on a list and allowing him to focus on other issues was the right decision, and they came to that conclusion at the end of the day."

-- Charean Williams




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