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Football writer Jim Dent faces long prison term after 10 DWIs

In August, we passed along a tidbit from the book Manziel Mania, which claimed that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was so close to drafting quarterback Johnny Manziel that Jones’s son Stephen had to take the card with Manziel’s name on it out of Jerry’s hand.

Little did we know that the story of the author of Manziel Mania was even crazier than the story of the goings-on in the Cowboys’ draft room: It turns out that at the very time Manziel Mania was generating headlines, author Jim Dent was on the lam in Mexico, having jumped bail because he was facing a long prison term in Texas after his 10th conviction for driving while intoxicated.

The Dallas Morning News has conducted a thorough investigation of Dent, who authored several well-regarded books about football, including The Junction Boys and King of the Cowboys: The Life and Times of Jerry Jones. Dent has now been caught and resides in the Collin County jail, where he awaits sentencing on Thursday on the DWI charges. In addition to the DWI sentence, he now faces a felony charge of bail jumping and failure to appear in court, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Dent promoted Manziel Mania from Mexico, using an Internet phone service that makes calls hard to trace so that he could conduct radio interviews to talk about the book without the authorities tracking him down. In all the news accounts of Manziel Mania -- which got plenty of attention thanks to that headline-grabbing anecdote about the Cowboys’ draft room -- no one mentioned that Dent was on the run from the law.

But the Dallas Morning News has done a thorough job of examining everything Dent has done: He has been convicted of DWI in five different counties in Texas, as well as convictions in Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma. One of his DWI arrests came on the very day he was released from jail for a previous DWI. He also has an active arrest warrant out for him in Arkansas because he failed to complete the alcohol counseling that was required as a result of his drunk driving conviction there. His former book agent says that organizing Dent’s schedule meant “juggling calls from five different lawyers in four different states,” and the agent eventually stopped working with Dent because of “too many late-night drunken calls.”

The law failed to stop Dent. His license was suspended but he kept driving anyway. He was ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings but didn’t show. He was ordered to wear an ankle monitor, but he removed it. Dent promised in a jailhouse interview that he will never drink again, but that’s a promise he has broken before.

It’s a gripping story, one that Dent says he will write a book about. He’ll have plenty of time to finish it behind bars.