Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones acknowledged defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season by the NFL for violating the league’s substance policy.
Jones also admits that the suspension is under appeal and that Lawrence is hoping to get the suspension overturned or reduced similar to cornerback Orlando Scandrick in 2014 when the league lessened his suspension for “popping a molly” on vacation in Mexico from four games to two games. A molly is a form of amphetamine known as MDMA, the main ingredient in Ecstasy.
Other than DeMarcus Lawrence, no other Cowboys defensive end had more than three sacks last season.
“It’s under appeal,” Jones said Thursday morning on KRLD/105.3 FM. “And it’s very similar to the [Scandrick] situation there when it reduced from four to two. But I wouldn’t want to be presumptuous. It’s under consideration. You don’t want to tell them what to do. Let them look at all the facts and the entire situation, which is what is required and will be done, and then maybe we can get a reduction.”
Any type of reduction for Lawrence would be great for the Cowboys, who are hurting for playmakers at defensive end with Lawrence’s suspension to go along with a four-game suspension for Randy Gregory for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. Gregory tested positive for marijuana at last year’s NFL Scouting Combine.
Lawrence was a budding the star and the Cowboys are hoping he can come back and build on a 2015 season in which he led the team with eight sacks, including seven in the final eight games.
The Cowboys tried to address the position in the draft and free agency. The signed Benson Mayowa from the Oakland Raiders and re-signed Jack Crawford. The Cowboys also have high hopes for fourth-round pick Charles Tapper, who could open the season as the starter at right end in place of Gregory.
But the truth is none of the defensive ends on the roster have more than three sacks in a season. The Cowboys are considering moving tackle Tyrone Crawford to end in place of the suspended Lawrence with rookie third round pick Maliek Collins opening the season as the starter at tackle.
“I am concerned about not having those two talented players at end,” Jones said. “When you have issues it turns into numbers as well. If you start having problems with guard you may end up having three guards with problems, not necessarily suspension problems but injury problems. That type of thing. And it seems like it runs that way and it hit us that way. I do have a lot of confidence we will by rotation, by numbers, by moving some guys...just the nature of the way defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli likes to to coach the defense. I think we got a good chance to have realy acceptable pressure, acceptable defensive line play.”