Cowboys Stunned By Arrest

One day after Dallas Cowboys cornerback Dwayne Goodrich turned himself into authorities to face double manslaughter charges, shock and sadness gripped the team's Valley Ranch headquarters. Many of his teammates declined to talk on the record.

But their sentiments were equal parts surprise that Goodrich had made such a grave error in judgment and sympathy for the families of the two victims.

Goodrich, 24, is accused of speeding through an accident scene, striking and killing two people who were trying to rescue a man from a burning car, then driving away.

He was released from jail early Wednesday after posting bond totaling $50,000 on two felony counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Joseph Wood, 21, and Demont Matthews, 23, Plano residents who were childhood friends. Each charge carries a penalty of two to 20 years and fines of up to $10,000.

Police also may charge him with failure to stop and render aid.

"I talked to a bunch of players (Tuesday night)," receiver Reggie Swinton said. "No one could believe it. We feel sorry for the families and we feel sorry for him. He had so much bad luck since he's been in Dallas. He's our brother and he needs our prayer."

Defensive end Greg Ellis, who is the National Football League Players Association representative for the team, spoke to Goodrich by phone Tuesday night, offering his prayer and assistance.

"This is tragic for the families and our hearts go out to them," Ellis said. "But I don't think this is a reflection of his character. It could have been me. It could have been anybody to have an accident. He made a mistake in not stopping. My prayers are with him and the families."

This not Goodrich's first run in with the law. He was arrested in 1999, during his senior year at Tennessee, on a charge of disorderly conduct. Those charges were later dropped, but Goodrich conceded that he was "drinking too much."

However, before the tragic incident early Tuesday morning, Goodrich's biggest transgression since coming to Dallas in the second round of the 2000 draft was not living up to expectations as the team's first overall pick.

Tabbed as the player most likely to replace the departed Deion Sanders at cornerback, Goodrich turned into a draft bust. He started just one game in three years. And though he had one year left on his contract, Goodrich was expected to be released before the 2003 season.

Now his fate lies in the hands of courts, not the Cowboys.

History will also place Goodrich among an infamous group of Cowboys players to run into legal problems.

Former offensive lineman Nate Newton, who was already serving a federal drug sentence in Texas, was sentenced last month to five years in prison for possession of 213 pounds of marijuana in Louisiana.

Newton was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in 1990 and 1993 but was not convicted either time.

Former receiver Michael Irvin pleaded no contest to cocaine possession charges in 1996. He was arrested last year after police found him in a house where drugs were present, but those charges were dropped.

Retired Cowboy Mark Tuinei, who played on the line with Newton, died from a heroin overdose in 1999.

CowboysHQ Top Stories