Tony Dungy says NFL coaches can help players make better decisions

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The Dallas Cowboys traveled to Cincinnati with heavy hearts Sunday after the death of practice squad player Jerry Brown. The team was able to pull out an emotional 20-19 victory against the Bengals, but many from the team were still reeling from the tragic incident which also involved Cowboys lineman Josh Brent.

Brent, who was driving the vehicle when it crashed, was charged with intoxication manslaughter Saturday and was released Sunday after posting $500,000 bond.

Trying to make sense of what could have prevented the tragedy proved a sort-of ‘subtext’ to many of Sunday’s NFL games. NBC broadcaster and sports commentator Bob Costas shared his thoughts during halftime of the network’s Packers Lions game.

Costas mentioned a ‘safe rides’ program the league and many NFL teams sponsor to help players return home safely when they’ve been out drinking.

“Any NFL player can just pick up a phone and arrange a ride, if he feels he’s impaired,” Costas said, before turning his attention to fellow analyst and former NFL coach Tony Dungy.

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Dungy, whose post-NFL life has been a mix of television commentary and outreach, said drinking and driving was a subject he made his players aware of.

“I would talk to the team about that over and over and over again,” Dungy told Costas during halftime of the network’s telecast.

Dungy also revealed some of the other methods he employed when trying to emphasize how important it was for his players to remain safe when they went out.

During his final season as coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Dungy brought in a local teenager who served prison time for a vehicular homicide which killed three people.

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“I said, ‘You’ve got to tell this story to my team because I’m looking for different voices, different ways to get that across,'” he said.

USA Today reports nearly 30 percent of NFL player arrests since 2000 were related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“It remains the single-biggest criminal issue in the NFL,” writes Brent Schrotenboer.

Brent told reporters Brown was his “very best friend.”

Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj