By: C.J. Doon
The hits just keep on coming in the NFL.
For the second week in a row, an NFL player was killed just hours before kickoff. Early Saturday morning, a car driven by Cowboys’ defensive lineman Josh Brent careened off the road after hitting the curb in Irving, Texas, the site of the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility, and flipped over. With Brent, inside the car, was 25-year-old Jerry Brown, a member of the Cowboys’ practice squad. Brent managed to escape the burning vehicle without injury. His friend Jerry was not so lucky.
Brown was pronounced dead at a local hospital following the crash. An expecting father, Brown was due to see the birth of his first child in less than two months.
According to police, Josh Brent, the Cowboys starting defensive tackle, had a “moderate odor of alcohol” on his breath when they arrived on the scene. The Irving Police Department asked Brent to perform a field sobriety test, which revealed signs of intoxication. He was then transported to the hospital for blood tests.
Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter as a result of the tests. He was released Sunday afternoon on $500,000 bond.
Brown and Brent became fast friends while playing football at the University of Illinois, and lived together in Dallas to pursue their dreams of becoming NFL players. Those who knew both Brown and Brent spoke highly of their friendship.
““You can’t get any tighter than those two,” said Brown’s attorney, George Milner. “The closest family [Brent] had was Jerry Brown.”
For the second straight week, an NFL team took the field with heavy hearts. The Cowboys were set to play the Bengals without their starting nose tackle, Josh Brent, and their good friend, Jerry Brown.
Before the game, a moment of silence was held to honor the passing of the late player. More than 60,000 fans bowed their heads in prayer, while the players stood on the sidelines holding their hearts.
Trailing 19-10 entering the fourth quarter, the Cowboys cut the lead to two points after Dez Bryant’s 27-yard touchdown catch from Tony Romo. With 3:44 left to play, the Cowboys took over on their own 28-yard line and marched down the field to set up a 40-yard field goal attempt for kicker Dan Bailey. As the clock hit double zeros, the ball sailed through the uprights, giving the Cowboys the win and sealing an emotional victory.
“I don’t remember crying this much other than maybe the day I was born,” defensive lineman Marcus Spears said. “With Josh’s situation and Jerry being gone, you felt it.”
Head coach Jason Garrett called Brown’s mother after the game, promising her the game ball to honor the passing of her son. Tight end Jason Witten was just happy to be able to put a smile on her face.
“To know that for just a moment she was able to put that behind her and watch the game, hopefully put a smile on her face in the grieving process.”
In the end, that’s all we can hope for.
Now, let’s quickly discuss this week’s edition of Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em!
Denario Alexander, WR, San Diego Chargers – Seriously, can someone tell me why this guy is available in over 70% of all leagues on ESPN.com? Denario has posted 19 points or more in three of his last five games, including 20 points against the Steelers this past Sunday. If you’re in need of a switch at wide receiver for the second round, look no further than Denario. C’mon, even his name is fun to say! Denario. De-nar-i-ooooo!
David Wilson, RB, New York Giants – Wilson had a breakout game against the Saints on Sunday, rushing for 100 yards and two touchdowns on only 13 carries, including a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown early in the first half. With Ahmad Bradshaw nursing a knee injury, Wilson could see even more touches this week against the Falcons – who, by the way, just allowed 195 yards rushing to Cam Newton and the Panthers.
Lions D/ST – A round of applause for the first D/ST appearance in FFBW! But seriously folks, the Lions are playing the Cardinals this week, a team that just got beat like a rented mule by the Seahawks in a game that was over before halftime. Final score: Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0. Yikes. In that game, the Cardinals managed to put together only 194 yards of offense, threw four interceptions, lost four fumbles, and surrendered two touchdowns to Seattle’s defense. You may be asking yourself, who’s going to be playing quarterback for the Cardinals this week? Is it Ryan Lindley, Kevin Kolb, or John Skelton? Who cares! Free points for everyone!
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles – Foles put together a brilliant game against the Buccaneers’ defense, throwing for 381 yards and two scores with no interceptions. However, don’t be fooled by the numbers. In his previous four games prior to Sunday’s coming-out-party, Foles put together a combined 30 points. That’s one point less than the total points he accounted for on Sunday, which was 31. So before you go jumping on the bandwagon, consider this: Are you really going to hedge your fantasy playoff bets on a rookie quarterback who enters the stadium looking like he just got out of a three hour study session at Starbucks? Yeah, I thought so.
Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons – Memo to all Turner owners: Stop. Just stop it. Stop trying to convince yourself he’s going to break out soon. I don’t care if you spent a second round pick on him this year. He’s worthless. Repeat after me: I will sit Turner and play Bryce Brown. I will sit Turner and play Bryce Brown. I will sit Turner and…
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants – Nicks has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury all season, but was able to tough it out against the Saints to produce four catches for 67 yards and touchdown. However, he still doesn’t look 100%, and has lost the ability to run deep routes and make plays after the catch. The Giants will need to make big plays to keep up the fast-paced Falcons offense inside the Georgia Dome, which could render Nicks ineffective in the passing game.