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Cowboys’ Brent Behind Bars, Remains on Roster

Dallas Cowboys tackle Josh Brent's bail bond was revoked Thursday after a second failed drug test.

Dallas Cowboys tackle Josh Brent’s bail bond was revoked Thursday after a second failed drug test.

Dallas Cowboys’ nose tackle Josh Brent was sent to jail Thursday after reportedly failing a second drug test, the Dallas County District Attorney’s office revealed.

Brent had been on bail following a December 8 car crash that saw teammate Jerry Brown killed and Brent charged with intoxication manslaughter. His bail bond was revoked after traces of marijuana were reportedly found during a mandatory drug test.

The failed drug test – which was taken on June 19 – is said to have followed an earlier failed test taken in May, which also found traces of marijuana.

Despite Brent heading for jail, the Cowboys’ front office has confirmed that the 24-year-old defensive lineman will not be cut from the team at present.

Regardless of the team’s approach to the matter, Brent’s imprisonment is another black mark against the NFL.

Currently reeling in the wake of the Aaron Hernandez scandal, the last thing Roger Goodell and the league’s top brass needed after this past week’s media circus was more bad publicity. That’s exactly what they’re getting with this latest news.

The saying goes that from small acorns grow mighty oaks. In the case of the NFL, those small acorns appear to be police arrests and charges.

According to a database kept by U-T San Diego, there have been 38 NFL-related arrests since January 1. Charges have ranged from public intoxication and disorderly conduct to DUI/DWI and murder.

In addition, NFL.com reported that Indianapolis Colts’ safety Joe Lefeged was arrested for multiple gun charges on Saturday morning, adding one more to the ever-growing tally.

Hernandez’s murder charge is undoubtedly the most shocking of all. The New England Patriots made the decision to cut the tight end practically before he reached the courthouse on Wednesday morning. Robert Kraft and Co. are willing to take a salary cap hit just to be rid of the 23-year-old, but they leave themselves with a tremendous gap to fill.

NE_receiversPlayers responsible for 70 percent of last season’s 4,844 receiving yards will not be donning a Patriots jersey come September. This includes four of the top five receivers of a season ago (Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Danny Woodhead, and Hernandez).

Still, with the severity of the charges against Hernandez, it’s hard to blame the Patriots for wanting him gone.

Hernandez’s arrest came hot on the heels of news that Cleveland Browns’ rookie Ausar Walcott had been charged with attempted murder following an altercation in New Jersey, a charge he pleaded not guilty to on Friday.

Like Hernandez, Walcott was immediately cut, making a total of six players that have now been relieved of their duties as a result of their arrests this calendar year. The other four are: Chris Rainey (Pittsburgh Steelers), Evan Rodriguez (Chicago Bears), Cliff Harris and Claude Davis (both New York Jets).

Which brings us back to Brent and the Cowboys’ decision to keep him on the roster.

Aaron Hernandez's murder charge has proven a nightmare for the NFL front office.

Aaron Hernandez’s murder charge has proven a nightmare for the NFL front office.

Dan Graziano covered the ins and outs of the decision excellently in his article on ESPN.com earlier this week. Interestingly, it’s the idea of Jerry Jones and the Dallas front office handling the situation with compassion – for both Brent and Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, who is said to be close to the jailed lineman – that raises eyebrows most.

Compassion isn’t something you’d necessarily associate with Jones and the Cowboys, a franchise that has had more than its fair share of bad publicity and players making the wrong choices over the last few years. But compassion certainly seems appropriate in these circumstances.

Teams around the NFL would do well to look at how the Cowboys are handling this situation. While we’re not saying that the Patriots should have acted any differently than they did – as Graziano points out, these are two very different cases – the NFL and its teams have an obligation to look after their players.

This has already been identified with the on-going investigations into concussions and the mental health impact football has on its players, as well as the well-reported suicides of Junior Seau and Jovan Belcher. With so many falling foul of the law, it appears that the need for health stretches that little bit further.

In all likelihood, the Cowboys – and the NFL as a whole – will eventually say goodbye to Brent, but for the time being it’s refreshing to see a supportive team doing what it can for a player that so obviously needs help.

Brent’s trial for intoxication manslaughter is due to commence on September 23.

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