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December 12, 2012

NFL violent deaths show league must improve focus on education

(Continued)

DALLAS —

Brent, 24, was driving at a high speed when the vehicle hit a curb in the Dallas suburb of Irving, and flipped at least once, according to police. Brown, 25, was taken to the hospital, where he died, Argumaniz said.

"I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life," Brent said in a statement released by his agent, Peter Schaffer.

The NFL Players' Association reiterated that it has a 24- hour car service available to all its members.

"That service does get utilized regularly," George Atallah, a spokesman for the union, said in an email. "That phone number is on the back of every player's union card."

In addition, the league labor deal struck a year ago includes programs to help players with substance abuse along with a 24-hour counseling service for those with mental health concerns, Atallah said.

The union has resisted attempts by the NFL to suspend players for two games who are found guilty of a first drunken driving offense, NBC Sports said on its website. The penalty currently is the loss of two game checks, the report said. An agreement reached last year to impose a one-game ban and a one- game fine has yet to be implemented, NBC said.

"I'd be very surprised if the union agreed to more stringent sanctions," Rick Burton, a professor of sports management at Syracuse University's Falk College of Sport, said in a phone interview.

Champaign County, Ill., Court records show Brent was sentenced to 60 days in jail, two years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a fine of about $2,000 for driving under the influence, speeding and driving without a valid license in February 2009 near the University of Illinois, where he attended college, the Dallas Morning News reported.

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