Dallas Cowboys

What is the next step toward reinstatement for suspended Cowboys DE Randy Gregory?

Randy Gregory ‘hurt a lot of people’ with suspension, Cowboys owner says

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

Indefinitely suspended Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory will apply for reinstatement to the NFL in hopes of getting back on the field for the start of training camp July 27, according to sources.

This has been the plan all along since Gregory was suspended for a fourth time in February for violating the substance abuse program and the terms of his conditional reinstatement.

It was a setback after he had a triumphant return to the Cowboys in 2018 when he was reinstated following a year-long suspension in 2017. He was also suspended twice for 14 total games in 2016 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Gregory played in 14 games in 2018, recording six sacks and 25 tackles.

His future rests in the hands of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell but the Cowboys always felt Gregory had a chance to gain reinstatement if he adhered to his treatment and recovery as he did previously.

By all accounts, Gregory is doing all the right things and his team is preparing the paperwork to file for reinstatement.

Nothing is guaranteed but the Cowboys are hopeful.

“For all the obvious reasons I don’t know,” owner Jerry Jones said March when asked about Gregory being on the field in Week 1. “It’s certainly not impossible. But his status is his status. It is what it is. We are going to do everything we can to try to have him overcome this hurdle to get in position to have him help us and he wants to do that.”

Coach Jason Garrett has repeatedly said that relapse is part of rehab and the Cowboys have remained steadfast in their support in Gregory.

The Cowboys proved as much earlier in the off-season when they restructured Gregory’s 2019 contract and gave him an extension through 2020.

Gregory, who does not get paid while under suspension, got $310,000 of his $955,218 base salary for 2019 into an upfront signing bonus. He will get a bargain-basement $735,000 in 2020.

They are still smitten by his talent and production, which was proved last season.

And they are enthralled with how genuine he is as a person.

“He’s a pure soul first and foremost, the proof of that is how he’s thought of everybody around him, teammates coaches everyone,” Jones has said when asked why they continue to support Gregory. “He’s genuinely afflicted, genuinely. It’s real. He has to work through, just as you would many things as human beings. He has to work through this, and the way he works through it, the way he deals with his circumstances. It’s impressive. It may not look that impressive when you say ‘look at the penalties that he’s endured,’ but it is impressive. He’s trying to work through it. Everybody on this team knows that he is. He’s an outstanding player by instincts, mentally, physically, he’s outstanding. He doesn’t pretend to be anything that he isn’t.

“I am by no means, in any way, weary, discouraged. As a matter of fact with his contribution that he made last year, we’d like to have more. But what we did get, the impact he made was there. He did nothing but would encourage me to help him in any way we can to have a career. He’s a relatively young guy. He’s in excellent, relatively speaking for what he plays and what he’s been through as his position, he’s relatively healthy. He’s a guy we can invest some of our time in to help him get here and it will help us win.”

If the Cowboys get Gregory back it will be a huge boost to an already talented and deep defensive end position that added veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn in a trade from Miami to go along with Pro Bowler DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Taco Charlton, Joe Jackson, Jalen Jelks, Dorrance Armstong and Kerry Hyder.

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.