Former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent avoided prison Friday and instead was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation for a drunken car crash that killed his friend and teammate, Jerry Brown.
Brent was convicted Wednesday of intoxication manslaughter for the December 2012 crash on a suburban Dallas highway that killed Brown, who was a passenger in Brent’s car. Brent could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. He was also fined $10,000.
Brent, 25, closed his eyes when the judge read the jury’s verdict. He was kept in custody after the hearing.
One of his attorneys, Kevin Brooks, described the former defensive tackle as “somber.”
“I’m really kind of overwhelmed with the results,” Brooks said. “It’s kind of what we’ve been fighting for from Day 1. I’m happy for Josh. Josh is still sad and grieving and that’s something he’s going to carry with him the rest of his life.”
Brent’s family members and supporters cried and hugged as the courtroom emptied after the hearing. His mother, LaTasha Brent, spoke briefly as she left the courthouse, saying she was there to support her son.
Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, wasn’t in the courtroom when the verdict was read. She publicly forgave Brent, and said during Thursday’s sentencing proceedings: “He’s still responsible, but you can’t go on in life holding a grudge. We all make mistakes.”
Jackson was the last witness the jury heard, and lead prosecutor Heath Harris said her testimony probably helped Brent get probation. Prosecutors were pushing for prison time for Brent.
Blood tests pegged Brent’s blood alcohol content at 0.18 percent, which is more than twice the state’s legal limit to drive of 0.08 percent. Prosecutors told jurors that the burly, 320-pound lineman had as many as 17 drinks on the night of the crash.
Judge Robert Burns scolded Brent after reading the verdict, saying his actions “bring shame to the city of Dallas.”
Seattle’s Sherman fined
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was fined $7,875 for unsportsmanlike conduct/taunting in the final minute of the NFC championship game against San Francisco.
Sherman’s fine was confirmed by the league Friday.
Shrman was flagged after he made a choking gesture toward the San Francisco bench that he said was directed at quarterback Colin Kaep-ernick. Sherman had just deflected a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone that was intercepted by linebacker Malcolm Smith and clinched Seattle’s 23-17 victory.
Sherman ran over and after tapping Crabtree on the backside and extended his hand for a handshake. Crabtree then shoved Sherman in the face. The All-Pro cornerback then made the choking gesture. Sherman was the only player fined in the game.
Manning’s shot at history
For all the NFL records Peyton Manning owns — and there are plenty — he is one victory away from the one accomplishment that eventually might define his legacy more than any other.
If Manning’s Denver Broncos beat the Seattle Seahawks next weekend, he would become the first starting quarterback to win Super Bowl titles with two franchises. Manning led the Indianapolis Colts to two NFL championship games, winning in 2007, losing in 2010.
And now Manning, at the age of 37, two years removed from sitting out an entire season after a series of neck operations, has a chance to forever stamp himself as a figure of similar importance in Denver, too. As it is, he already has joined Craig Morton and Kurt Warner as the only QBs to lead two clubs to the Super Bowl, although they didn’t win with both.
“If he can win this game, he definitely will be an icon in two cities,” said Morton, who was in Denver for six of his 18 NFL seasons.
Morton went 0-2 as a Super Bowl starter, losing with the Dallas Cowboys in 1971, then the Broncos in 1978. Warner went 1-2, winning with the St. Louis Rams in 2000, then losing with them in 2002, before losing with the Arizona Cardinals in 2009.
Giants’ Diehl retires
New York Giants offensive lineman David Diehl has retired after an 11-year career that included two Super Bowl championships. Diehl announced his retirement on Friday. The fifth-round draft pick became a cornerstone of tough offensive lines. Diehl missed only 12 games in his career in which he started at every position on the line but center.
Super Bowl XLVIII
O Denver vs. Seattle
At East Rutherford, N.J.
Feb. 2, 4:30 p.m.
TV • Ch. 13