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Could NFL’s New Drug Policy in CBA Help Cowboys DE Randy Gregory?

One component of the NFL’s proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is still in negotiations between the owners and players, is a revised drug policy with lighter rules around marijuana use. If this new CBA is adopted and certain aspects take effect in 2020, how might this new policy help Cowboys Defensive End Randy Gregory return to active duty?

Gregory, a highly-talented pass rusher drafted in 2015, has struggled with marijuana use and been on the wrong end of the NFL’s drug policy for most of his professional career. He has missed all of the 2017 and 2019 seasons on suspensions, plus multiple games in other years.

These absent years have allowed Dallas to retain Gregory’s right well beyond the usual four-year mark. He is still under contract for 2020 and could provide the Cowboys with a much-needed pass rushing option, especially if Robert Quinn is lost in free agency.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

The proposed CBA also reduces penalties for players who test positive for THC, eliminating any game suspensions strictly for positive tests. So no more getting banned strictly for smoking weed.

It’s important to note that Gregory’s suspension in 2019 was never really challenged. Randy didn’t apply for reinstatement as many expected, reportedly taking the year to work on his personal life and make sure his next attempt to return to the NFL would be successful.

Had Gregory actually tried to return last year it probably would have been approved. The league allowed WR Josh Gordon to come back in 2019 despite an even worse track record than Randy’s, which was indicative of the softening viewpoint around marijuana use that led to this revised policy.

So really, Randy Gregory should be able to get back into the league even without this new CBA. But where the new drug policy can really help him is staying active for the Cowboys.

Gregory is the best natural pass rusher that Dallas has had since DeMarcus Ware. He’s proven that he can make an impact even in a supporting role, registering six sacks in 2018 despite not starting.

Even if the Cowboys do keep Quinn in 2020, having Gregory has a rotation piece would be a highly valuable asset.

Right now it looks the players, who are schedule to vote today on the proposed CBA, will likely reject the proposal based on other factors regarding compensation and schedules. The negotiations will probably go into next year and even a 2021 lockout by the players is possible, if not expected.

So yes, sadly, this may all be a moot point. But even if the drug policy doesn’t get changed in 2020, hopefully Randy Gregory is still ready to make a return to football and provide some needed help to the Cowboys’ defense.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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  1. I’ve always been a fan of Gregory’s pure athleticism even in college. To have a chance of having him back on the Dline would be amazing. I think Jerry Jones knows he’s got an ace in the hole with Gregory and is why he’s helped him so much along the way in hopes he can unlock the beast of randy on the field for his cowboys. And being a businessman he knows he can probably get a good return on his investment.
    I would love to see him back even if the CBA falls short.

    • I’m with you 100%, Travis. And if the Cowboys do have genuine belief in Gregory’s readiness to return, it could be what pushes them to not match offers for Robert Quinn this offseason.

  2. My only stopping thought about welcoming him back is this, is his weed habit more important to him than football ala David Irving?

    • Gregory is a different guy from Irving. He’s got his issues but has always given his best, which is why the organization continues to support him.

      Irving didn’t love football. He got by on talent and didn’t have any fans among the coaches. That’s why he’s not still connected to Dallas anymore.

  3. Hey Cowboys Nation, if Randy would have plan last season he would have ten sacks. Now in 2020 when he come back 10 plus sacks, he better than Quinn any day of the week.

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