Dallas Cowboys practice-squad linebacker Jerry Brown has died in a one-car accident and teammate Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter.
Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz said the accident happened about 2.20am Saturday morning (local time) in the Dallas suburb. Brent was speeding when the vehicle hit a curb and flipped at least once, Argumaniz said.
Argumaniz says the 25-year-old Brown - also Brent's teammate at the University of Illinois for three seasons - was found unresponsive at the scene and pronounced dead at a hospital.
The police spokesman said officers conducted a field sobriety test on Brent and arrested him. The charge was upgraded after Brown was pronounced dead.
"We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "At this time, our hearts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry's family and all of those who knew him and loved him."
The team said in a statement that Brent was not on the team flight to Cincinnati, where the Cowboys play the Bengals on Sunday (local time).
Argumaniz said Brent was being held without bond. Brent was named as Joshua Price-Brent in the police news release. Argumaniz also said Brent missed a 10am Saturday booking session with a judge because he was intoxicated. He does not know if Brent has an attorney.
He said when officers arrived at the scene on a state highway service road, Brent was dragging Brown from the car, a Mercedes, which was on fire. Officers quickly put out the small blaze, he said.
The road has a 70kph speed limit, and Argumaniz said investigators were certain they were travelling above the limit.
Before he was taken to the jail, Brent went to a hospital for a blood draw for alcohol testing and also received treatment for some minor scrapes.
Brent was arrested in February 2009 near his University of Illinois campus for driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and speeding, according to Champaign County, Illinois, 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 US$2000. 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. Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide on December 1.
Brent has played in all 12 games this season. 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 on October 24, but he hasn't been on the active roster. He was released from the Indianapolis Colts' practice squad on October 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 every day given is a gift."