The Cowboys may get to add some pass rushing talent this year without signing a single free agent or using a draft pick. Defensive end Randy Gregory, who has been suspended for most of the last two seasons, is close to applying for reinstatement to the NFL.
According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, Gregory’s team is closing in on initiating a return to football. It involves a formal petition to the league office, and Roger Goodell in particular, to review the progress Randy’s made in his personal life and decide if it’s sufficient enough for him to represent “the shield” again.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also weighed in on Gregory’s potential return:
Jerry Jones, speaking at the grand opening of The Star’s entertainment district, confirmed that Randy Gregory is preparing to apply for reinstatement and there is hope he can play in 2018. Not much detail beyond that, due to the discretionary nature of the process #cowboyswire
Randy Gregory’s been rarely seen since the Cowboys used their 2015 second-round pick to acquire him. He was injured in the season opener as a rookie and missed the next four games, Gregory was active for the final 11 games that year but didn’t make much impact, still seeming to be bothered by his ankle injury and whatever rhythm or momentum was lost by sitting out.
2016 was basically a lost year with suspensions. Gregory missed four games and then another 10 on back-to-back suspensions for using illegal substances, not appearing for the team until the final two weeks. He picked up his first and only career sack in the Week 17 finale.
That was the last we’ve seen of Randy in a Cowboys uniform. Another drug violation got him indefinitely suspended and now it’s up to Dallas’ favorite judge, jury and executioner, Roger Goodell, to decide if Gregory has taken enough positive steps to merit a return to football.
While fans still rightly loathe Goodell for his handling of the Ezekiel Elliott case, that may actually work in Gregory’s favor. As long as there’s enough to justify a positive ruling, Goodell may be inclined to lean toward mercy in an effort to restore some goodwill with the Cowboys and their fans.
Still just 25-year-old, Randy Gregory could be a major addition to the emerging pass rushers on the Cowboys defense. DeMarcus Lawrence was a breakout star in 2017, David Irving in on the cusp of being a household name, and Taco Charlton was improving as the season went along.
At this point, the Cowboys are in a no-lose scenario with Gregory. If he can come back, he’s a cheap backup with tremendous upside. If not, he’s someone they’d also written out of their future plans.
It’s Randy who really needs the win here, and for his sake I hope he gets it.