ARLINGTON, Texas –Josh Brent has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in the wreck that killed his close friend and teammate Jerry Brown, and his season is over, but the Cowboys asked the 24-year-old nose tackle to join them on the sideline for Sunday's matchup with Pittsburgh.
"What we wanted to do as an organization was support Jerry Brown's mom's wishes," head coach Jason Garrett said. "The players encouraged Josh to be there, a number of phone calls, 'You're coming to the game.' That's just our guys understanding the situation, understanding Stacey Jackson's wishes for Josh. She considers Josh a son and she loves him very much. We love him very much and we're going to try and support him every way that we can."
On Tuesday, less than two days after being released from jail, Brent accompanied Brown's family to a memorial service for the fallen practice squad linebacker, his college teammate at Illinois and roommate in Dallas. Jackson has said she holds no ill will toward Brent.
Still, the gravity of the situation led some to question the team's willingness to welcome Brent back to the facility and on the sideline. Early last week he was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list, allowing the Cowboys to keep his rights, but officially ending his third season with the club.
During the CBS halftime show of the game broadcast, former quarterback Boomer Esiason said he thought the decision for Brent to attend was in poor taste.
"His teammates asked him to come and be down there with him, so that's where we are," owner Jerry Jones said. "I do know that certainly there's the other side of the coin, but this is the case of the people that he's arguably the closest to really wanted him around."