Each helmet worn by a member of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday featured a small decal bearing the No. 53 in honor of Jerry Brown. A member of the Cowboys' practice squad, Brown passed away after a one-car accident on Dec. 8. A moment of silence was observed in his memory at Cowboys Stadium before the home team took the field against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers.
Among those in attendance in Arlington for that mournful moment was Josh Brent, who has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in Brown's death and reportedly had a blood alcohol level of .18 when he flipped the car carrying himself and Brown. The Cowboys' nose tackle, Brent was released on $500,000 bond earlier this week. At the behest of Brown's mother, Brent attended a memorial service for Brown alongside their teammates. Brent and Brown were teammates the University of Illinois before being reunited in Dallas.
According to ESPN Dallas, Brent had Brown's jersey draped over his shoulders during the national anthem. Later in the first half of the game, CBS cameras caught sight of Brent on the sideline, leading many to question whether he belonged at the game.
During CBS' halftime show, Brent's presence was a hot topic of conversation among Boomer Esiason and the studio panelists.
"It's 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," said Esiason. "I spoke to a Dallas official who told me that [he was there] 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 the wrong move. I think it's insensitive. I think, really, it's something that has to be looked at because it sends a really bad message."
Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher then weighed in, expressing a similar view as Esiason.
"It's an insensitive move by the Dallas Cowboys for all the reasons we said," said Cowher. "This isn't just about Josh Brent. This is about everyone who is involved with making those types of decisions."
What do you think? Did Brent belong on the sideline? What sort of message, if any, did his presence send?
Brent has been placed on the reserved/non-football illness list, according to DallasCowboys.com. This designation allows him to be with the team and Dallas coach Jason Garrett has been outspoken in his desire to keep Brent with his teammates.
“Josh is part of our family. We have unconditional love for him,” Garertt said, via DallasCowboys.com. “And we’re going to make sure that we support him in every way we can. Players, coaches, our organization, and make him feel that support every way … having him be here, and knowing that people are around him to help him and he can call us, he can just be around us, he can cry, he can laugh – he can do whatever he needs to do – and we’ll be there to help him.”