Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys should know Randy Gregory’s playoff status in 7-10 days

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory was called for a face mask penalty on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz on this play, but also recorded his first career sack Sunday in Philadelphia.
Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory was called for a face mask penalty on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz on this play, but also recorded his first career sack Sunday in Philadelphia. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

The Dallas Cowboys should know Randy Gregory’s playoff status in the next seven to 10 days, executive vice president Stephen Jones said.

Gregory, the second-year defensive end, is appealing a possible year-long suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. The hearing should take place before the Cowboys’ divisional-round playoff game.

“My understanding is in the next week to 10 days [he’ll have his appeal hearing], and then a final decision will be made,” Jones said after the Cowboys’ 27-13 loss at the Eagles on Sunday. “If he doesn’t win it, then he’s suspended.”

I’m not really focused on all of that [off-field stuff]. ... I’ll handle the things I can control, which is going out there and making plays.

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory

Gregory served a 14-game suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy multiple times earlier this season, but made his season debut last week against Detroit. He saw significant playing time again Sunday, recording his first career sack when he took down Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz in the fourth quarter.

Gregory was credited with seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. It’s the type of impact the Cowboys expected from Gregory when they used a second-round pick on him in the 2015 draft.

But Gregory has struggled to keep his off-field issues in order, although he insists that it hasn’t been hard to focus on football.

Beat writers Clarence Hill and Charean Williams break down the Cowboys regular-season finale loss at Philadelphia. Video by Drew Davison.

“I’m not really focused on all of that [off-field stuff],” Gregory said. “As far as I know, I can’t really do anything else to help my cause or hurt my cause. So everyone else that’s dealing with the situation I’ll let it play out on its own.

“I’ll handle the things I can control, which is going out there and making plays.”

Randy Gregory was credited with seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit Sunday.

Gregory flashed his potential, beating nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters for his first career sack.

He had three preseason sacks as a rookie, but wasn’t able to get an official one until his 14th professional game.

Is getting a sack in the NFL harder than he thought?

Star Telegram sports columnist Mac Engel reports from the Cowboys' regular season finale loss in Philadelphia where Tony Romo finally played (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).

“It is,” Gregory said. “I think the preseason was a different deal simply because we’re not playing against — tonight I’m going against Peters who is definitely a Pro Bowler, All-Pro and preseason a lot of different guys are in there.

“The main thing is getting off the ball and hustling to the ball and hopefully some plays will fall in my lap as we go.”

We just have to continue to work with Randy and make sure that his future is on the field with the Cowboys.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

Owner Jerry Jones intimated last week that Gregory might be suspended for the playoffs, although he didn’t answer when asked following Sunday’s game.

Instead, Jones offered only praise for a player the organization is sticking behind despite all of the off-field issues.

“He has a relentless motor and plus he has some unique things about rushing the passer and it’s called talent,” he said. “He has everything and he’s highly intelligent.

“We just got to work and figure out a way to keep him on the field because he’s a favorite among the players, his teammates. They think the world of him, so we just have to continue to work with Randy and make sure that his future is on the field with the Cowboys.”

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo felt good about his performance on Sunday. Video by Clarence Hill Jr.

The Cowboys have had success in helping players such as Gregory, and can even look to fellow defensive lineman David Irving as an example.

Irving had several red flags coming out of college, being dismissed from the Iowa State football team, but has turned into a productive player for the Cowboys.

“Honestly, you’ve just got to keep going,” Irving said. “Stuff happens. Everybody knows what happens at this point. There’s nothing for guys like us to do but say, ‘OK, we [messed] up. Let’s move forward.’

“He got that sack, so just build on that and keep going. Get more and more sacks and just focus on getting more sacks. Don’t focus about the past. There’s nothing you can do about it.”

Jerry Jones discusses the fallout from the defensive end's suspension. (Video by Clarence Hill.)

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison

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