When the Dallas Cowboys take the field against the Carolina Panthers today, they'll be doing so with Defensive End Randy Gregory ready to play for the first time since January of 2017. Gregory was able to come off suspension and play in the Cowboys final game of the 2016 season, a reality that may be faced again following this week. By next week, another decision is expected to come down from the NFL on Gregory's eligibility, this time due to a relapse the fourth-year Cowboy reportedly suffered in August.
Randy Gregory suffered relapse in August, may face discipline or a decision from the NFL as early as this week, per sources.https://t.co/vJ5SOUYr0w
ESPN's Adam Schefter was first to report this story, providing some clarity for the first time in weeks – as Cowboys officials have been asked by the local media about further discipline for Gregory since before training camp officially ended. The team's stance has not changed, in that Gregory will be available today, and it shouldn't when it comes to the NFL deciding what's best for Randy.
“There have been multiple examples this offseason of a player having a disputed test, with the league emphasizing treatment and support rather than discipline, which was one of the NFLPA's goals when the policy was reconfigured in 2014.”
Gregory may very become just the latest Cowboys player to get caught in the middle of a power struggle between the NFL and its players association, as was the case with Ezekiel Elliott a year ago.
It is important to remember however that the league has already set a strong precedent with Gregory, turning him into a success story (at the moment) by reinstating him. Gregory's case for reinstatement included letters from his Cowboys teammates that detailed, among many things, just how important it would be for Gregory to remain within the team's structure and contribute on the field.
One thing is certain, and it's that Gregory is ready to do just that on Sunday against the Panthers, who start the season with an already depleted offensive line. This opportunity for Gregory could make his removal from the field even more devastating for Dallas, as this case has always been out of their control.
A reminder that Randy Gregory is in stage three of the drug program. From the NFL drug policy: pic.twitter.com/uMK3edg709
The Cowboys will hold steady in their belief that Gregory is a changed man ready to prioritize his tumultuous NFL career and use football to straighten out his life. The NFL will do the same in providing little clarity on just how much this means, and whether or not Gregory will be suspended again as soon as this week.