Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent released on bond in teammate's death

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by JOSH DAVIS, MARJORIE OWENS, REBECCA LOPEZ and JOE TRAHAN

Bio | Email | Follow: @joetrahan

WFAA

Posted on December 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 9 at 8:04 PM

IRVING - Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was was released from jail around 4:15 pm Sunday after posting a $500,000 bond. 

Brent was arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter on Saturday.  A probable cause affidavit said Brent was responsibile for the single-vehicle rollover crash that killed Jerry Brown Jr., a linebacker on the Cowboys' practice squad.

A source told News 8 Brent, 24, and Brown, 25, were partying late Friday night and into the morning at a Dallas club before the fatal crash in Irving.

Brent was in a 2007 Mercedes with Brown at about 2:20 a.m. Saturday near Highway 114 when the vehicle hit an outside curb while traveling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle flipped over onto its top, landing in the center of the road, according to Irving police.

"I can say investigators are certain they were traveling well above the posted speed limit," said John Argumaniz, a police spokesman.

The speed limit was 45 mph.

Upon arriving on the scene, officers saw Brent dragging Brown from the car, which had caught fire in the wreck, Argumaniz said. Officers extinguished the fire and talked with Brent, who they determined was the driver of the vehicle.

Brown was found unresponsive at the scene and transferred to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"I am devastated and filled with grief," Brent said in a statement. "Filled with grief for the loss of my close friend and teammate Jerry Brown. I am also grief-stricken for his family, friends and all who were blessed to have known him. I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life. My prayers are with his family, our team."

Police said the nose tackle was arrested based on officers' observations and after failing a field sobriety test. He was later charged with intoxication manslaughter after Brown was pronounced dead. Intoxication manslaughter is a second degree felony with a range in punishment from two to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Brent was taken to a nearby hospital for mandatory blood withdrawal and suffered minor scrapes, Argumaniz said.

The Cowboys were told of Brown's death around 1:15 p.m. Saturday while on a grounded plane set to head to Cincinnati for the Sunday game. The media and non-essential personnel were asked to exit the plane for the private meeting. The team said in a statement that Brent was not on the team flight to Cincinnati, where the Cowboys play the Bengals.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in a statement. "At this time, our hearts and prayers and the deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry's family and all of those who knew him and loved him."

Cowboys officials said there will be no further comment on the incident until after the game Sunday.

Brent was selected in the 2010 NFL Supplemental Draft after leaving the University of Illinois as a junior. Players enter the NFL Supplemental Draft because they missed the filing deadline for the NFL Draft or issues developed that affected their eligibility, such as academic or disciplinary matters.

Brent was arrested in February 2009 near the Illinois campus for driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and speeding, according to Champaign County, Ill., court records.

In June 2009, Brent pleaded guilty to DUI and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, two years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a fine of about $2,000. As part of his plea deal, prosecutors dropped one count of aggravated DUI/no valid driver's license. Brent successfully completed his probation in July 2011, court records show.

The accident happened a week after another NFL tragedy. Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide December 1.

Brent and Brown were college teammates at the University of Illinois and played as teammates for three seasons

Brent has played in all 12 games this season and has been a bigger presence on defense with starting nose guard Jay Ratliff battling injuries. He made his first career start the season opener against the New York Giants and has 35 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.

The Cowboys signed Brown to their practice squad October 24, but he hasn't been on the active roster.  He was released from the Indianapolis Colts' practice squad Oct. 20.

"On behalf of the entire Colts family, our sincerest condolences go out to Jerry's family and friends, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said in a statement. "He was a good teammate that was well liked by all. Today's tragic news is just another reminder of how fragile life is and how everyday given is a gift."

Brown played for San Antonio in the Arena Football League this year. In 2011, he played for Jacksonville in the AFL and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League.

He was born and grew up in St. Louis, attending Vashon High School.

Brent, who is named Joshua Price-Brent in the police news release, is being held without bond.  Argumaniz also said Brent missed a 10 a.m. Saturday booking session with a judge because he was intoxicated. He did not know if Brent had an attorney.

Brent is scheduled to appear before a magistrate Sunday, which is when a bond will be set.

While Argumaniz said they received multiple 911 calls from people at the scene of the crash, he said none of those individuals actually witnessed the crash.

Authorities have asked that anyone who may have witnessed the crash call police at 972-721-2762.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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