FRISCO, Texas – Randy Gregory’s 18-month suspension is over.
The NFL announced Tuesday that the 25-year-old defensive end has been reinstated on a conditional basis after serving an indefinite suspension for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
The league’s official statement: “Gregory may join the Cowboys at training camp and participate in meetings, conditioning work and similar activities. Once arrangements have been confirmed regarding Gregory’s clinical resources in Dallas, and subject to continued compliance with the terms of his reinstatement and all aspects of the NFL-NFLPA Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse, he will be permitted to participate in all activities, including practices and games.”
Gregory reportedly applied for reinstatement in mid-May, paving the way for the NFL to render a decision by its designated 60-day window for such matters.
In January 2017, the NFL suspended Gregory at least one year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy again. Gregory had just returned from a 14-game suspension to start the 2016 season.
Per league rules, the Cowboys have not had any contact with Gregory during his suspension. Since getting drafted in the second round in 2015, he has appeared in 12 career games and recorded 20 tackles and a sack.
In March, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Gregory had a “pretty circuitous route” to reinstatement. Jones declined to elaborate on his understanding of the process but said he believes it’s a medical issue that “has a lot of discretionary things to determine.”
“I’m not confident (about reinstatement), but I do see where his heart is,” Jones said then.
So did his teammates. Multiple players, including Tyrone Crawford and Jeff Heath, reportedly wrote letters of endorsement to the league as part of Gregory’s reinstatement application.
Exactly one week before the Cowboys report to training camp in Oxnard, Calif., Gregory’s back. How quickly he can acclimate to football again remains to be seen.
He has not taken part in a practice, or been around the Cowboys’ facility, since his suspension took effect 18 months ago. The Cowboys operated this offseason under the worst-case premise that he wouldn’t be on the roster again this year. They signed veteran Kony Ealy in free agency and drafted defensive end Dorance Armstrong in the fourth round.
But there’s no denying Gregory’s talent – or his motivation to get back on the field.
“I know he’s worked very hard to get himself in position to put the suspension behind him and get back to work as a football player,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said in May. “He’s worked very hard as a person to improve himself, and we’re excited about the opportunity to get him back.”