Updates from Sunday, Sept. 28
When the Dallas Cowboys return to work on Monday, suspended defensive tackle Josh Brent will be eligible to join his teammates, according to multiple sources.
Brent and the NFL agreed to a modified suspension on Friday in which he will still miss the first 10 games of the season, but he will be allowed to work out and take part in meetings with the Cowboys two weeks earlier than the original conditions of the suspension as well as other concessions.
Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 3
Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News has Dez Bryant's thoughts on Brent:
Dez Bryant on Josh Brent: "I can't wait to get him back. He's an animal. He's my friend. He's gonna add a lot more juice to the whole team."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 3, 2014
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent has been given a second chance to make his mark on the NFL, but he will have to wait.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the league has reinstated the 26-year-old Illinois product, but he must sit out over half the season:
#Cowboys DT Josh Brent has been conditionally reinstated with Cowboys, eligible to return to play in games by week 11, source says— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 2, 2014
Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report added more details:
Brent would be able to attend team meetings Week 7 and begin practicing fully Week 9 IF he complies with conditions of reinstatement.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) September 2, 2014
Brent plans to fight the ruling according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com:
Brent won’t be reinstated for 10 weeks. Brent’s agent, Peter Schaffer, tells PFT that Brent will appeal the decision.
“We are going to invoke our appeal right,” Schaffer said by phone. “We were truly hoping that the Commissioner’s response to Josh’s request for reinstatement would be one that we wouldn’t have to appeal, and that it would be fair and based on precedent. The last thing we thought we’d have to do today would be appeal the decision.”
NFL.com's Michael Silver initially reported that the Cowboys were expecting a four-game ban before the league handed down its punishment.
The past couple of years have been a roller coaster ride for Brent, but this suspension and subsequent reinstatement marks the end of a long and painful road back to the NFL.
Brent was convicted of DUI manslaughter for his role in a 2012 car crash that killed Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown. He was subsequently sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation.
Brent retired from the NFL in July 2013, prior to being convicted and sentenced. The defensive tackle has decided to return to the league, however, and it appears as though the Cowboys are willing to give him another opportunity.
According to ESPN's Ed Werder, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has every intention of making room for the troubled lineman on his roster:
Jerry Jones says #Cowboys will create spot for Josh Brent when reinstated. Source says, "He's not just going to walk back on the field.''— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) August 25, 2014
Bringing Brent back into the fold won't be particularly complicated since he remains under control of the organization, per ESPN.com's Todd Archer:
When/if Josh Brent returns, Cowboys need to activate off reserve/retired list. He would not be a free agent. Cowboys hold his rights.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 25, 2014
The decision to retain Brent and give him a roster spot is somewhat controversial for several reasons. His off-field transgressions certainly top the list, but Jones is of the belief that Brent will be an asset to the Cowboys after having dealt with so much. Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shared some of Jones' comments:
I do know that when someone goes through life-changing experiences, that's what we like to think football does for young men, but he's had that experience. He's had that experience. He deserved that and some people think he deserved more, but the point is he has been through some eye-opening days. We could really benefit from that as a football team.
Aside from everything that has happened to Brent personally, this situation must be viewed from a football standpoint as well. The Cowboys have struggled defensively in recent years, and they badly lack depth along the defensive line.
Do you agree with Josh Brent's suspension?
That is likely a factor in Dallas keeping Brent, but the value in doing so is questionable. Brent hasn't played in a game since 2012, and all he has to show for his NFL career thus far is 44 tackles and 1.5 sacks over three seasons.
He was also a seventh-round pick in the 2010 NFL supplemental draft, so it isn't as though Brent is a highly touted prospect with limitless potential, either.
If the Cowboys don't keep Brent on their roster, no other teams may want to pick him up for fear of the baggage he brings along with him.
Regardless, Brent is being given a new lease on life in the NFL. It's now up to him to prove that he is reformed and to show that he deserves it.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter