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Volume 24 No. 116
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Jerry Jones Defends Cowboys' Decision To Have Josh Brent On Sidelines During Game

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones yesterday “defended the club's decision to have troubled nose tackle Josh Brent on the sideline” yesterday during the team’s game against the Steelers, according to Tom Orsborn of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. The team last week “placed Brent on the reserve/non-football illness list” after he was charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of teammate Jerry Brown. Brent yesterday had Brown's No. 53 jersey “draped over his left shoulder during a moment of silence for his former Illinois teammate before the game.” Jones said that the decision “was in keeping with the wishes of Stacey Jackson, Brown's mother.” Jones said of Brent, “Jerry's mother asked us directly as a group to support him, help him. ... His teammates wanted (Brent) down there with them. I do know that certainly there's the other side of the coin, that there will be criticism.” Orsborn notes the Cowboys “also honored Brown by wearing a decal bearing No. 53 on the back of their helmets” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 12/17). Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said, “That’s just our guys understanding the situation and understanding Stacey Jackson’s wishes. She considers Josh a son” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/17). USA TODAY’s Jarrett Bell writes the move is “striking in the image-conscious NFL.” Bell: “How many times have we seen teams distance themselves from players in trouble at the drop of a hat?” Brent received “a number of phone calls from his teammates, with this essential instruction: You're coming to the game.” The Cowboys “sent a message, too, that they are all-in with their support and apparent concern for Brent's mental state” (USA TODAY, 12/17).

MOVE PANNED BY CBS ANALYSTS: The Cowboys' decision to have Brent on the sideline was criticized by CBS' "NFL Today" studio show crew yesterday. Analyst Boomer Esiason said, “It was the last thing I thought I’d see today. I think it’s disgraceful by the Dallas Cowboys to put that young man on the sideline. I spoke to a Dallas official who told me that because of the words of Stacey Jackson, Jerry Brown’s mom, at the funeral, she wanted the team to support Josh Brent. I think it’s a wrong move. I think it’s insensitive and I think really it’s something that has to be looked (at) because it sends a really bad message.” Analyst Bill Cowher said, “It’s an insensitive move. ... This isn’t just about Josh Brent. This is about everybody who’s involved with making those types of decisions" ("Steelers-Cowboys," CBS, 12/16).

: The SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS’ Orsborn noted a “season-high 95,595” fans yesterday were on hand to watch Steelers-Cowboys. Jones said of the Steelers fans, “We got it counted. It was about 15,000. They’re loud and they’re great.” He added, “I was told by all of my people here in tickets and in the stadium that we were going to have a lot of (Steelers) fans there. Well, we’re used to dealing with that ourselves on the road a little bit. There are a lot of Cowboy fans that are on the road for us” (, 12/16).