Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has yet to speak publicly about being suspended for the first four games of the 2016 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
That should come in the next month during OTAs or minicamp.
But Gregory is not in hiding and is not shying away from his “demons,” as owner Jerry Jones described them.
Gregory was present at the Cowboys’ annual golf tournament for team sponsors, held Wednesday at Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine.
He chatted up Jones and took pictures with the sponsor team he was assigned to.
Jones said there are no guarantees with Gregory, because of the nature of dependency. Gregory is one failed test away from a 10-game suspension.
But Jones called Gregory a brilliant man with a SAT score higher than anyone they’ve drafted and a keen understanding of his situation.
He said Gregory’s presence at the team’s golf tournament was a good sign and continued evidence that things are looking up.
“Randy had the highest we have on record SAT scores that we have signed,” Jones said.
“So I enjoy conversations with him. There is no misunderstanding with Gregory and where his obligations are and what he needs to get done. We don’t have to worry about that part because he understands. So how is he is doing? He is doing excellent. I think all thumbs are up.”
Getting Gregory back and living up to the expectations of the Cowboys had in him when they drafted him in the second round out of Nebraska last year is important to the team as well as the player.
The Cowboys didn’t address the pass rush with any impact players in the draft or free agency, despite Gregory’s suspension and that of fellow defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who is also out the first four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Gregory didn’t have a sack as a rookie, largely because he was hobbled by a high ankle sprain for much of the season.
But the expectations remain high him.
Jones called Gregory the best pass rush prospect in the last two drafts and said the Cowboys need him back.
“He’s got gifts. He understands he has gifts, God’s gifts,” Jones said. “He’s got great human skills, personality. He is nothing short of brilliant. Certainly he has his demons. A lack of understanding of where he is is not one of them.
“We pray for him. We want him to him to have the kind of career his gifts would allow him to have, which is an exceptional, exceptional football player.
“He is probably the top rusher in the last two drafts. We need him. We want to get him back.”
But as well as Gregory is doing so far and as much as the Cowboys need him, Jones cautioned nothing is guaranteed.
Gregory came into the league with substance abuse issues and promised to address them. However, he failed at least three tests as rookie to the stage for the four-game suspension.
The Cowboys hope he has matured and learned but they know nothing is assured.
“As we all understand in rehabilitation and dealing with these kinds of issues there is no assurance of anything,” Jones said. “Anybody who has ever been involved in rehabilitation and dependency will tell it’s quite a challenge for not only the individual but his support cast and his family, his teammates. We want to do what we can do
He has great support. He also has serious expectations from his teammates as well as anybody with the Dallas Cowboys. We depend on him and we want him to do right.”