Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory will miss the first four games of the 2016 regular season because he is:
a) an addict and a knucklehead
b) a troubled young man who medicates his bipolar disorder with marijuana
c) a person who does not prioritize football and who therefore chips away at the foundation of the franchise.
d) a kid with a lot of opportunity ahead of him.
Cowboys COO Stephen Jones calls Gregory’s violation of “his responsibilities” a “disappointment”’ but that doesn’t mean the suspension is a surprise. Gregory, the gifted pass-rusher out of Nebraska, fell to the Cowboys because he failed a drug test at last year’s combine, a goof-up complete with Gregory apologies and admissions that he smokes pot and promises that it would never happen again.
Well, it happened three or four times last year. That’s how the Cowboys prospect falls this deeply into the NFL’s substance-abuse program.
It is fair to say that Gregory — who is my locker-room experience with him works awfully hard to try to appear “cool” and “aloof” — has fairly consistently failed to choose football over pot (or whatever substance is the issue at hand). do you also wish to blame the Cowboys for climbing into a bed of their own making, or even for believing they have this vaunted support system that in fact is no better than any other NFL team’s support system? The Cowboys will tell you they provided him, and will continue to provide him, the resources and assistance and guidance necessary to keep him out of the ditch. Hey, I’m at Valley Ranch every day, and so are Leon Lett and Calvin Hill and owner Jerry Jones himself. And many days so are Charles Haley and Michael Irvin and other ex-Cowboys luminaries, all of whom have vowed to share their ups and downs in ways that will benefit Gregory. (And for that matter, ex-Cowboys running back Joe Randle, who with his fifth arrest in 17 months over the weekend, may be a poorer student than even Gregory.)
Next up for Randy Gregory, if he comes up unclean again, is a 10-game suspension followed by at least one year out of the game. And this is no place to argue that pot should be legalized or that the NFL stance on it should be softened. Gregory entered the league knowing the rules … and selfishly violated them.
In that sense, Randy Gregory — prospect, knucklehead, foundation-chipper — is “all of the above.”