GRAPEVINE, Texas – It's expected that, at the Cowboys' Annual Sponsor Appreciation Golf Classic, a variety of players will hit the links.
The tournament gives the Cowboys a chance to give back to their various sponsors, and what better way to show appreciation than to offer some facetime with members of the roster?
"It looks like fun and it is, and we appreciate our players and coaches doing this," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
With all of that said, it was somewhat surprising to enter the clubhouse and see Randy Gregory among the dozens of voluntary team attendees to make the trip to Cowboys Golf Club for the event. After all, Gregory has faced no shortage of criticism during the past three months for his four-game suspension after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Whatever criticism the second-year defensive end might face, though – whether it's coming from outside or inside the organization – Jones said he's confident Gregory understands the stakes at play.
"There's no misunderstanding by Randy Gregory as to where his obligations are and what he needs to get done," Jones said. "So we don't have to worry about that part, because he understands."
Gregory finds himself in a different set of circumstances from other places who have run afoul of the league's substance abuse policy, such as DeMarcus Lawrence or Orlando Scandrick. After failing a drug test at the NFL Combine before he was drafted, Gregory entered the league in the NFL's rehabilitation program. He has obviously already incurred a four-game suspension, and further failures could result in longer absences.
As Jones himself pointed out on Friday, there are no assurances with anyone going through rehabilitation for any type of dependency. That helps explain why the Cowboys were able to draft Gregory – one of last year's seminal talents – at No. 60 overall.
At the same time, he added that Gregory has the intelligence to comprehend the situation in front of him. After all, according to Jones, Gregory boasts the highest SAT score of any player he has drafted with the Cowboys.
"He's got great human skills and personality – he's nothing short of brilliant. And certainly he's got his demons," Jones said. "To that end, I know that lack of understanding where he is, is not one of them."
Gregory mingled with Cowboys officials as well as sponsors during his time at the course, though he did not speak to any of the assembled media. Given that suspended players are eligible to participate during OTAs and minicamp, that will likely change in the near future.
Until then, Jones reiterated that "all thumbs are up" in Gregory's progress this offseason – and the hope is that it stays that way.
"He has great support, but he has also really serious expectation from his teammates as well as – as far as I'm concerned – anybody with the Dallas Cowboys," he said. "We depend on him and we want him to do right."