Gregory Will Be Ready If Called On vs. Cinci

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OXNARD, Calif. – Even for a guy with so much talent, it's been a surprising transition for Randy Gregory.

The newly-reinstated defensive end didn't mix into practice until Sunday, but he has spent the past week turning heads. It's hard to chart sacks when players aren't allowed to tackle the quarterback, but it'd be easy to argue that Gregory has reached the quarterback at least four times in four practices back with the team.

"I feel like I'm where I need to be as far as helping the team," Gregory said Thursday. "Obviously, there's stuff I can always work on, but I can definitely feel myself gaining some confidence – a lot of confidence that I probably lost over the course of the last two years."

The Cowboys have had a specific plan for Gregory from the time he was reinstated by the NFL back in July. It remains to be seen if that plan involves playing in Saturday's game against Cincinnati, but his quick progress seems to indicate that he could.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli wasn't sure what Gregory's workload will look like on Saturday – if he has one at all. But he did allow that he does look ready to see some snaps."I think so. We've just got to get it cleared from the trainers and all that, so we'll wait and see what they say," he said.

That's a pretty impressive turnaround, considering Gregory has been away from organized football for much of the last two years. He's been at training camp since the Cowboys arrived on July 24, but the team was cautious not to rush him back to action too quickly.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett famously refrains from discussing playing time in preseason games, but he had high praise for the work that Gregory has done to get back to this point – not to mention the work he has actually done on the field.

"There's no question that he's done a really nice job – done a really good job with his rehab, done a really good job when he's had full practices," Garrett said. "He's gone against our No. 1 offensive line and he's really held up well – both in the run and rushing the passer."

Thanks to the work he's done to get ready, Gregory said he feels ready to play from a conditioning standpoint, although he still has some work to do getting up to speed with the scheme. Because of that, he said he'll be ready for whatever the Cowboys decide to do.

Whenever he winds up playing, he added that it's an opportunity he won't take for granted.

"It'd be big for me. I'm treating this game like any other game, whether it's preseason or not. I don't consider myself safe on this team, by any means," he said. "I feel like I have a lot to prove to others – to the coaches, my peers and myself. So going out there and performing, and performing well, is my main goal."

"I think so. We've just got to get it cleared from the trainers and all that, so we'll wait and see what they say," he said.

That's a pretty impressive turnaround, considering Gregory has been away from organized football for much of the last two years. He's been at training camp since the Cowboys arrived on July 24, but the team was cautious not to rush him back to action too quickly.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett famously refrains from discussing playing time in preseason games, but he had high praise for the work that Gregory has done to get back to this point – not to mention the work he has actually done on the field.

"There's no question that he's done a really nice job – done a really good job with his rehab, done a really good job when he's had full practices," Garrett said. "He's gone against our No. 1 offensive line and he's really held up well – both in the run and rushing the passer."

Thanks to the work he's done to get ready, Gregory said he feels ready to play from a conditioning standpoint, although he still has some work to do getting up to speed with the scheme. Because of that, he said he'll be ready for whatever the Cowboys decide to do.

Whenever he winds up playing, he added that it's an opportunity he won't take for granted.

"It'd be big for me. I'm treating this game like any other game, whether it's preseason or not. I don't consider myself safe on this team, by any means," he said. "I feel like I have a lot to prove to others – to the coaches, my peers and myself. So going out there and performing, and performing well, is my main goal."

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