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Former Dallas Cowboys player Brent released to half-way house

By Jana J. Pruet

DALLAS (Reuters) - Former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent has been sent to a rehabilitation facility to serve out the remainder of his 180-day jail sentence for causing a fiery, one-car crash that killed his teammate after a night of heavy drinking in 2012.

The Dallas County Sheriff's Department said on Monday that Brent was released from jail on Sunday. He will stay for 45 days at a residential facility to treat substance abuse before being released, law enforcement officials said.

A jury in Dallas found Brent guilty in January of the intoxication manslaughter of Jerry Brown Jr. The same jury, which heard testimony from Brown's mother seeking leniency for Brent, sentenced him to six months in prison followed by 10 years of probation.

Speculation has been growing in local media on whether the Cowboys would welcome back Brent to the roster.

Owner Jerry Jones said this month: "We’ll certainly evaluate that situation when it comes. I certainly wouldn’t rule it out," according to a post on the team's website.

Brent, a 320 lb (145 kg) defensive lineman, was put on leave by the Cowboys after the accident and retired from the team in July.

Without his football salary, Brent, 26, had been working in a Dallas warehouse, packing boxes before he was sentenced, his lawyers said. Brent was paid $630,000 for the final year of his NFL contract before his retirement.After a night of drinking at a private club in December 2012, Brent was driving his Mercedes at 110 mph (177 kph) when it slammed into a curb on a state highway, flipping the car, which caught on fire, and killing Brown, then 25.

(Reporting by Jana J. Pruet; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jim Loney)

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