Dallas Cowboys: Will Randy Gregory return before the season starts?

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images /

After his second indefinite suspension for substance abuse, can the Dallas Cowboys’ Randy Gregory once again find his way back to the football field?

In 2015, the Dallas Cowboys had a desperate need for a War Daddy pass rusher. The Cowboys had released the team’s all-time sack leader, defensive end DeMarcus Ware, the year before. And Dallas drafted DeMarcus Lawrence in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but a foot injury limited him to just seven games his rookie season.

With that need for a dominate pass rusher in mind, the Cowboys took a chance on Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory with the 60th overall selection in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. A top-ten talent, Gregory tumbled down draft boards after failing a drug test during the NFL Scouting Combine.

Unfortunately, the event was just a precursor of a life problem that would damage Gregory’s availability for his entire NFL career so far. Since being drafted, he’s played in just 28 of a possible 64 regular season games in large part due to violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Gregory made a heroic return in 2018. Playing opposite of Lawrence, who had now achieved War Daddy status, Randy racked up 6.0 sacks in 14 games. He once again flashed the potential he possessed coming out of college where he posted 119 total tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks and two interceptions during his two years at Nebraska.

But Gregory’s demons returned and the NFL levied a second indefinite suspension for substance abuse violations against him in February. It’s unclear when or even if Randy will return to the Cowboys.

Still, the Dallas brass seem unusually optimistic about Gregory’s situation. The team has vowed to continue to support him. And the Cowboys even gave Randy a one-year extension, presumably to aid him in his finances. But when can fans actually expect to see Gregory back on a football field?

Here’s what John Owning of the Dallas Morning News recently wrote about the chances Gregory could return in time to start the regular season.

"“Speaking of Gregory, Jerry and Stephen Jones have appeared awfully optimistic that he could be reinstated before the regular season begins. The Jones’ optimism has been wrong before … Nevertheless, their optimism must come from somewhere, which informs the bold prediction that he will return.”"

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The Dallas Cowboys did add an insurance policy for Randy Gregory’s absence, trading for veteran defensive end Robert Quinn this offseason. But if the 26-year old Gregory can find a way to return sometime this year, the two would represent the best pass rushing rotation in Dallas in recent memory.