EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Josh Brent is eligible to play, but he'll be inactive Sunday night when the Cowboys face the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
The Cowboys released their seven inactive players ahead of their Week 12 tilt with New York. Brent is the obvious headliner, as he'll be inactive in his first week of eligibility after a 10-game suspension. His overall conditioning, as well as the Cowboys' surplus of healthy defensive linemen, led to the decision to sit him.
The other six inactives are Terrell McClain, Jakar Hamilton, Tyler Patmon, Tony Hills, Donald Hawkins and Dustin Vaughan.
McClain, much like Brent, is also a healthy scratch for a Dallas defensive front that is about as healthy as it's been in recent memory. The Cowboys currently have 10 healthy defensive linemen on the roster – two too many to carry to a game, considering limitations at other positions.
"You have some healthy guys, who are good players, who aren't going to be active for the game," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Friday.
There has been speculation about Brent's game status since the Cowboys returned from their bye week. Brent has eligible to practice for several weeks, but he was serving a 10-game suspension from the NFL for his December 2012 drunk driving accident.
The 6-2, 320-pound defensive tackle is eligible to play in all of the Cowboys' remaining games, if the team decides to activate him.
Meanwhile, Patmon will miss his first game since sustaining knee and ankle injuries in the Nov. 9 win against Jacksonville. With the rookie cornerback expected to miss two more weeks, the Cowboys called up cornerback Micah Pellerin from the practice squad on Saturday. Davon Coleman, another healthy defensive lineman, was cut to make room for that move.[embeddedad0]
Hills and Hawkins are both healthy scratches, as Doug Free is 100 percent returned from his foot fracture. Vaughan has now been inactive for 10 of the Cowboys' 11 games. He was active for the Nov. 2 loss to Arizona while Tony Romo recovered from a back injury, but he did not play.