FRISCO As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned, defensive end Randy Gregory is good to go for the final two games of the season and the playoffs.
After missing the first 14 games of the season under suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, Gregory will return to practice this week.
The Cowboys don't know if he will be activated for Monday's game against the Detroit Lions, but they will do everything they can to get him as ready as possible.
He also might be needed, considering that defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence missed Sunday's game with the Tampa Buccaneers with a back injury and defensive ends Benson Mayowa and Tyrone Crawford suffered injuries in the game.
"Just take his situation day by day," coach Jason Garrett said of Gregory. "He hasn’t played football in a while. Getting out there on practice field and playing football independent of the work he’s been doing with our strength coaches to get himself physically ready to play. He’s got to get himself football ready. We’ll try to take advantage of every opportunity we have over the course of the week.
“We have to be honest and objective in our evaluation of where he is and realistic about where he’s been. Again, we’ll take it day by day. We’ll keep our mind open. We’ll keep our eyes open and make the evaluation as we go."
To that end, Garrett said they are going to give Gregory as many reps as possible in practice with the regular defense and the scout team.
Gregory has been in meetings and done a lot of work on the side with the strength coaches, but has not been in a real practice since last season.
"It’s been awhile since he’s played football. But he’s worked very hard to get himself in shape. We’ll see where he is as we start to practice,” Garrett said. “We’re not going to practice until Thursday because of the Monday night game. So we’ll see where he is on Thursday and start making some decisions as the week goes on."
Gregory is still not out of danger with the NFL because of a missed drug test during his suspension, putting him in the cross hairs of a year-long suspension. But that situation is under appeal.
And it's the Cowboys understanding, the league will not prevent Gregory from practicing and playing in the final two games as well as the playoffs.
The appeal will likely not be ruled on until after the season.