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When Might Randy Gregory Be Able To Return?


INDIANAPOLIS -- "Indefinitely" is a broad term.

At this point, all the Cowboys know for sure is Randy Gregory faces an indefinite suspension for violating the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse and the terms of his conditional reinstatement.

Speaking Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones didn't want to speculate on a timeline for the 26-year-old defensive end's latest suspension. After all, Gregory's August 2018 reinstatement was an exhaustive, comprehensive process after he sat out the better part of two seasons (2016, 2017).

When asked if it's possible that the league could reinstate Gregory by the 2019 season opener, Jones said, "For all the obvious reasons, I don't know. It's certainly not impossible. But his status is his status. It's what it is."

The Cowboys are not permitted to have contact with Gregory during his suspension. But Jones and head coach Jason Garrett said this week that Gregory has worked hard to get professional help for his off-the-field challenges and the team would continue to stand behind him.

The Cowboys have long asserted that Gregory is dealing with a medical issue, not merely repeated violations of league policy.

"He's a pure soul, first and foremost," Jones said. "The proof of that is how he's thought of by everybody around him -- teammates, coaches, everyone. He's genuinely afflicted. Genuinely. It's real. He has to work through, just as you would many things as human beings, he has to work through this.

"The way he works through it, the way he deals with his circumstances, it's impressive. It may not look that impressive when you say, 'Look at the penalties that he's endured,' but it is impressive. He's trying to work through it. Everybody on this team knows he is."

Conditionally reinstated by the league last August, Gregory played 14 games in 2018 and finished second on defense with six sacks.

Substance abuse issues have followed Gregory intermittently since the Cowboys drafted him in the second round back in 2015. But Jones says he is "by no means in any way weary or discouraged" by the talented pass rusher's latest setback.

"I believe that a combination of his continued dealing with it, experience, maturity, will be better for him relative to the NFL," Jones said. "And I think we've got a system in the NFL that he can ultimately deal with and the system will ultimately deal with him in a way that lets him have a football career."