Brown mourned at me­mo­rial ser­vice

Play­ers given the day off to honor their team­mate.

Austin American-Statesman - - NFL - Jerry Brown was killed in a one-car ac­ci­dent early satur­day. roger Good­ell’s find­ings jus­ti­fied fines, rul­ing stated.

DAL­LAS — Ja­son Gar­rett gave the Dal­las Cow­boys a day off af­ter his play­ers some­how pulled off a win in Cincin­nati while reel­ing from a one-car ac­ci­dent that killed one team­mate and landed an­other in jail.

Many play­ers showed up at team head­quar­ters any­way and there was Josh Brent, the hulk­ing de­fen­sive tackle who missed the trip af­ter po­lice say he was driv­ing drunk and caused the wreck that killed prac­tice squad line­backer Jerry Brown, his close friend and room­mate.

And Brent was back with his team­mates again Tues­day for a pri­vate me­mo­rial hon­or­ing Brown. Play­ers and team of­fi­cials left with­out talk­ing to re­porters af­ter the hour-long ser­vice on a chilly af­ter­noon at Oak Cliff Bi­ble Fel­low­ship in Dal­las, but Gar­rett had made it clear that Brent was still a part of the Cow- boys fam­ily.

“We’re go­ing to sup­port Josh 100 per­cent in ev­ery way that we can,” Gar­rett said Mon­day, a day af­ter the Cow­boys beat the Ben­gals 20-19 with a field goal on the fi­nal play to keep their play­off hopes alive.

Brent ar­rived at the ser­vice ear­lier than most of the Cow­boys play­ers, team ex­ec­u­tives and staff mem­bers. He was in a van with sev­eral other peo­ple and could be seen hug­ging Brown’s mother be­fore walking into the build­ing. Brent was one of the last to leave, too. He grew close to Brown dur­ing three sea­sons to­gether at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois, and took in Brown when the Cow­boys added the 25-year-old to the ros­ter in Oc­to­ber.

“It’s a really, really dif- fi­cult sit­u­a­tion for him,” Gar­rett said. “We want to make him feel that there are peo­ple around him who can help him get through this thing day by day.”

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had “no is­sues” with Brent be­ing at team fa­cil­i­ties while the manslaugh­ter case against him works its way through the courts. Pitts­burgh vis­its Dal­las on Sun­day in an­other game with play­off im­pli­ca­tions for both teams.

Po­lice in sub­ur­ban Irv­ing say Brent was speed­ing when his ve­hi­cle struck a curb and flipped early Satur­day, hours be­fore Brent was sup­posed to be on the team flight to Cincin­nati. Brown was taken to a Dal­las hospi­tal, where he was pro­nounced dead. The Dal­las County med­i­cal ex­am­iner said he died af­ter suf­fer­ing blunt force trauma to his head and neck.

Of­fi­cers who ar­rived at the ac­ci­dent scene found Brent pulling Brown from the wreck, ac­cord­ing to an ar­rest af­fi­davit. How­ever, a woman who ar­rived mo­ments af­ter the ac­ci­dent said Brent didn’t be­tween the league and the NFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. He added that he hoped do­ing so would al­low the NFL and union to move for­ward col­lab­o­ra­tively to the more im­por­tant mat­ters of en­hanc­ing player safety.

“To be clear: this case should not be con­sid­ered a prece­dent for whether sim­i­lar be­hav­ior in the fu­ture mer­its player sus­pen­sions or fines,” his rul­ing said.

Tagli­abue over­saw the sec­ond round of player ap­peals to the league in con­nec­tion with the cash- try to save his friend’s life un­til she begged him.

“Jerry was alive,” Stacee McWil­liams of Irv­ing told The Dal­las Morn­ing News. “He was hurt. He was call­ing out, and his own friend walked away.”

McWil­liams, a 40-yearold in­surance com­pany em­ployee, said she was on her way home from her birth­day party when she no­ticed the wreck and stopped. She told the news­pa­per Mon­day she could no longer talk about the case on the in­struc­tion of Irv­ing po­lice, and she did not re­spond to a mes­sage from The As­so­ci­ated Press seek­ing an in­ter­view Tues­day.

Brent’s at­tor­ney, Ge­orge Mil­ner, told the AP that an in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer told him the woman’s story didn’t match the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Brown’s death. Mil­ner said he was told that Brown “wasn’t talk­ing to any­one. He wasn’t moan­ing. He was dead.”

Mil­ner said the woman told po­lice that Irv­ing fire per­son­nel weren’t at the scene, which isn’t con­sis­tent with what oc­curred. for-hits pro­gram run by former de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Gregg Wil­liams from 2009-11.

Good­ell had given Vilma a full-sea­son sus­pen­sion, while he gave Smith, Fu­jita and Har­grove shorter sus­pen­sions.

Tagli­abue cleared Fu­jita of con­duct detri­men­tal to the league.

The former com­mis­sioner found Good­ell’s ac­tions his­tor­i­cally dis­pro­por­tion­ate to past pun­ish­ment to play­ers for sim­i­lar be­hav­ior, which had gen­er­ally been re­served to fines, not sus­pen­sions. He also stated that it was very dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine whether the pledges play­ers made were gen­uine, or sim­ply a mo­ti­va­tional ploy, par- tic­u­larly be­cause Saints de­fend­ers never demon­strated a pat­tern of dirty play on the field.

“We re­spect Mr. Tagli­abue’s de­ci­sion, which un­der­scores the due process af­forded play­ers in NFL dis­ci­plinary mat­ters,” the league said in a state­ment.

“The de­ci­sions have made clear that the Saints op­er­ated a bounty pro­gram in vi­o­la­tion of league rules for three years, that the pro­gram en­dan­gered player safety, and that the com­mis­sioner has the author­ity un­der the (NFL’s col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment) to im­pose dis­ci­pline for those ac­tions as con­duct detri­men­tal to the league.”

Lm OTERO / as­so­ci­ated PRESS

Dal­las Cow­boys de­fen­sive tackle Josh Brent, charged with in­tox­i­ca­tion manslaugh­ter in the death of team­mate and friend Jerry Brown, ar­rives at Tues­day’s me­mo­rial ser­vice in Dal­las.

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