Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the team will continue to support Josh Brent but that it will be more sensitive to his public appearances with the team.
“It becomes a very sensitive topic to a lot of people when you are in a public place like the game, and there were no bad intentions other than to support Josh, a part of our football team,” Garrett said Monday at his press conference at Valley Ranch.
Brent’s presence on the sideline at Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh sparked criticism on social media and among fans and observers. CBS analyst Boomer Esiason called it a “disgrace.”
Brent is charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown, who was a passenger in Brent's car when it crashed Dec. 8 in Irving.
Garrett said the Cowboys will think about how to deal with that situation next week.
“I thought Josh handled it beautifully,” Garrett said of the player’s visit to the sideline. “He came, and when he felt like there were some issues, he felt like the right thing to do was to leave. But we’re going to support him in every way that we can. We’ll also be sensitive to this kind of an issue.”
Garrett said he did not know Brent was going to be at the game, although he had talked to him on the phone the previous day. He said he learned that the players encouraged Brent to come to the game.
“That was a result of the wishes of Jerry Brown’s mom, who stood before us at the memorial on Tuesday and really encouraged everybody and almost made a plea to everybody to keep Josh in our family and keep him close and support him in every way that we can,” Garrett said. “And the players really took that upon themselves to say, ‘Hey, Josh, you need to be here at this game.’ That was something that they felt was really, really important. Encouraged him to do that. It turned into a little something that maybe a lot of people didn’t exactly expect.
“We’re trying to handle it day by day and work our way through it. We’ll have some more discussions about that going forward.”
Brent left in the third quarter when he learned that his presence on the sideline was causing a stir.
During Monday's news conference, Garrett said: “Nobody in this organization stands up here and says, ‘We condone drunk driving.’ That’s not what we’re saying. We’re supporting a member of our family who made a mistake he’s going to have to live with for the rest of his life and we want to help him in way that we can to get through this.”
-- Carlos Mendez