Cowboys edge defender Randy Gregory has been suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and the terms of his conditional reinstatement, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Unfortunately, this is not the first rodeo for the 26-year-old.
Last year, Gregory returned from another ban to appear in 14 games for the Cowboys. In a mostly reserve capacity, the Nebraska product showed why the Cowboys invested a second-round pick in him back in 2015. Gregory finished out the year with six sacks, 25 total tackles, and two forced fumbles, giving the Cowboys reason to be excited for his 2019 campaign.
“The expectation for Randy is the exact same: to get him back on the field playing as soon as possible,”said Gregory’s attorney Daniel Moskowitz (via USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein). “Our personal confidence in him has not wavered. This is about more than football. We appreciate the public recognizing this is a private matter and thank the Jones (family) and Cowboys for their continued support.”
The ban marks Gregory’s fourth career suspension for substance abuse. The league has relaxed its stance on repeat offenders of the policy, but the road back to the field is tough when a player violates the policy while under conditional reinstatement. With that in mind, Gregory’s case probably won’t be revisited until 2020, at the earliest. As Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports tweets, Gregory is no longer subject to the standard reinstatement process, which means that it is unclear exactly what he has to do to work his way back onto the field. His fate is entirely in the hands of Roger Goodell, who simply decides if and when Gregory will be permitted to return.
The Cowboys may look to fortify their pass rush in the draft now that Gregory’s status is in doubt. Team VP Stephen Jones said he has known that the indefinite ban was coming for some time, but he obviously declined to comment on how it would impact the club’s draft strategy (Twitter link via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News).
Gregory’s suspension may also ramp up the pressure on Dallas to get a deal done with DeMarcus Lawrence, who has threatened to hold out if tagged for a second consecutive year. The Cowboys recently made an offer to Lawrence, and they’ll wait up until the March 5 deadline before pulling the trigger on the tag.
Rory Parks contributed to this post.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.