Josh Brent tried to pull Jerry Brown from his burning Mercedes

Josh Brent attempted to pull Jerry Brown out of his burning vehicle after an intoxicated crash early this morning, police in Irving, Texas, say.

Brent, a nose tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, has been arrested and charged with intoxicated manslaughter, a second-degree felony, for the single vehicle wreck that left Brown, a linebacker on the Cowboys’ practice squad, dead.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Brent flipped his 2007 Mercedes after travelling at a high rate of speed at about 2:21 a.m. There was a small fire that was quickly extinguished.

“Our investigators are certain that they were traveling well above the posted speed limit, and they base that on the physical evidence that is out on the scene -- gouge marks, skid marks, where the vehicle initially impacted the curb and to where the vehicle came to rest," Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz said, according to the report.

Brent’s Mercedes traveled about 900 feet after hitting the curb in what is a 45 mph zone. Brown was unresponsive when help arrived and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. Brent failed a sobriety test and had blood drawn at a hospital. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the charge putting much more than his career in the NFL in jeopardy.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement released by the club. “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.”

Brent and Brown were teammates at the University of Illinois and Brent’s college career was ultimately cut short by a DUI arrest in Champaign County, Ill. He was arrested and charged with DUI in Urbana in February 2009 and when his college career was cut short he entered the NFL’s supplemental draft where the Cowboys selected him.

According to Deadspin, Brent said his DUI arrest in college had provided a fresh perspective after 30 days in jail.

“You get a new outlook on life and some of the mistakes I've made," Brent said, according to the report. “You realize a lot of things (while spending time in jail). How naive and dumb you can be sometimes.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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