UPDATE: Thursday, July 18, at 4:50 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson provides the latest on Brent:
Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent placed on reserve-retired list— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) July 18, 2013
---End of update---
The 25-year-old announced on Thursday that he is retiring from the NFL to focus on "major priorities." ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Brent's decision on Twitter:
Cowboys DT Josh Brent has decided to retire to focus on major priorities, per his agent Peter Schaffer.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 18, 2013
Currently facing an intoxication manslaughter charge for his role in the December death of former Illinois and Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown Jr., Brent was still on Dallas' roster as of Thursday morning. His criminal trial for that charge is expected to begin on Sept. 23.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport added these tweets with quotes from Brent:
Cowboys DT Josh Brent announces his retirement: "This is the right decision for me, and something that I have given a lot of thought to."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 18, 2013
More Brent: "I am at a point where my main focus is about getting priorities in my life in order. Priorities more important than football"— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 18, 2013
ESPN Dallas' Calvin Watkins had comments from agent Peter Schaffer, who commended his client in taking a step toward being a better member of society with this decision:
Brent agent, Peter Schaffer: "He made a very mature decision to put his priorities in order. I'm very proud of him."— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) July 18, 2013
Nick Eatman had Brent's full statement in a release for DallasCowboys.com. According to Eatman, Dallas will retain Brent's rights if he does return to the NFL in the future.
This is the right decision for me, and something that I have given a lot of thought to. I am at a point where my main focus is all about getting the priorities in my life in order. Those priorities are more important than football. Doing the right things in life are more important than football. I love the game very much. I love my teammates, but this is the right thing for me to do.
The NFL was expected to make an official ruling on Brent's playing status this week.
Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo reported on Twitter that NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has already issued a statement concerning the new developments:
League spokesman Greg Aiello says of Josh Brent there's "no action for us to take at this point." So the legal process will play out.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 18, 2013
In other words, this closes the door on NFL involvement in Brent's proceedings. The United States justice system will now have to decide his fate moving forward.
The Dallas Morning News had reported that a decision about Brent's future with the Cowboys might come on Thursday, but the report did not mention retirement as a distinct possibility.
Dallas stood by Brent in the wake of the car accident that claimed Brown's life, and the organization continued to provide support for its defensive tackle this offseason. As Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas discussed in a recent piece, that decision might have more to do with winning football games than anything else.
It's a decision that has come under fire more often than not.
Brent failed a second drug test under the terms of his probation in June. Watkins reported that the Cowboys had no plans to release him, even though the failed test sent Brent back to jail.
A court order freed Brent from that sentence on July 7.
Brent's attorneys have spoken with the District Attorney's office about a potential plea bargain, but if no agreement can be reached, his trial will begin as scheduled in September. Brent had a blood alcohol level of 0.18 at the time of the incident in question, which is twice the legal limit in the state of Texas.
If Brent does not return to football in the future, he will finish his NFL career with 39 games played—all for the Cowboys. He recorded 31 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his three-year career.