News broke last Friday that Randy Gregory is suspended for the first 4 games of the season after violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Randy's journey as an NFL player has been filled with, and even began with, run-ins with similar issues.
My fellow Staff Writer Nick Cocchiaro vented what I'm sure a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans are feeling with his reactionary post. Bobby Belt, host of Cowboys Cast, did the same with an exemplary CC Extra (which you can listen to right here).
Personally I gave the matter a lot of thought over the weekend. While watching Texas A&M upset Kentucky in a great game of college basketball on Saturday, I couldn't help but notice Super Bowl 50's MVP enjoying his alma mater's big win.
Von is on top of the world now, yes, but it wasn't long ago that he was lost in a rabbit hole similar to the one that Randy Gregory finds himself in.
Before the 2013 season began for the Denver Broncos (the record-setting offense led by Peyton Manning who lost Super Bowl XLVIII) Von Miller was suspended for its first six games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Sound familiar?
In fact according to an ESPN report Von was originally suspended for four games just like Gregory, but tried to corrupt the NFL's drug-testing program with the help of a urine collector. As a result of Von's attempt, which was unsuccessful if it wasn't obvious, the suspension was upped to six games… even though it could have been a whole season.
Miller vowed to be better. “I will not make the same mistakes about adhering to the policy in the future. During my time off the field, I will work tirelessly and focus exclusively on remaining in peak shape. I look forward to contributing immediately upon my return to the field and bringing a championship back to the people of Denver.”
Three full seasons later, at the culmination of Super Bowl 50, Von Miller hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. When he passed it on to his teammates he then raised the Pete Rozelle Trophy as the game's Most Valuable Player. My how times had changed.
It is very true that Randy Gregory is currently demonstrating a pattern of behavior that is toxic to his NFL career (another failed test will result in a half-season suspension). With so much at stake Randy needs to look to someone who has climbed out of such a hole before. He needs to look to Von Miller.
Before he was Super Bowl MVP Von was a failed drug test away from a minimum one-year suspension. Von was so far down this alley that he was in Stage 3 of the league's program and policy for substances of abuse, and despite an original point of discipline that he would remain there for the duration of his career… Von is no longer in any stage.
The Cowboys undoubtedly have an enormous amount of resources at their disposal, and I'm sure that they'll recommend that Randy Gregory use them, but Randy doesn't need to look any further than this year's Super Bowl MVP.
Von Miller is his hope of exactly how he can turn this situation around. Miller himself has credited his Broncos teammate, and Cowboys legend, DeMarcus Ware for aiding him in his turnaround. Perhaps Von can take the lessons learned from the old #94 and teach them to the new #94 to make him just as great.