The two games Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory played this season will be his last for a while. The NFL has officially suspended Gregory for one year without pay for violating its substance abuse policy.
The threat of a one-year ban had been hanging over Gregory’s head since he failed a drug test in November. Gregory elected to appeal that failed test, enabling him to take the field during the process, but his hearing with the league this past Tuesday didn’t yield the results he or the Cowboys wanted.
Gregory will now miss the Cowboys’ playoff run, however long it lasts, and all of next season. He’ll have to apply to commissioner Roger Goodell for reinstatement when the suspension expires. The earliest he’ll be able to do that is Nov. 6, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill, who adds that Gregory won’t have access to the Cowboys’ facilities during his suspension (Twitter links).
This is now the third ban in Gregory’s two-year pro career. Each suspension has come from a substance abuse violation, and the first two forced him to sit out the opening 14 games of the Cowboys’ season in 2016. Cognizant of his issues, Gregory checked into a treatment facility last July, but he still hasn’t been able to overcome his problems. The former Nebraska standout entered the league with drug-related concerns, including a failed test at the 2015 scouting combine, which caused his draft stock to plummet. Gregory had first-round talent, but he fell to Round 2, where the Cowboys nabbed him with the 60th overall pick.
Injuries and suspensions have combined to keep Gregory off the field for 18 of 32 regular-season games since his entrance into the pros. While the 24-year-old hasn’t made a significant impact when he actually has played, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has decided to this point that Gregory’s potential outweighs his baggage.
Gregory amassed his first career sack in a Week 17 loss to the Eagles, but that will be his last notable contribution for the foreseeable future.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.