Randy Gregory Q&A: Focusing on His Health and Future After Draft Plummet

Jason ColeNFL AnalystJuly 23, 2015

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CLEVELAND — Early in the 2014 college football season, Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory was receiving favorable comparisons from scouts to Jadeveon Clowney and was being tossed around as a potential top-10 draft pick. 

Instead, between his admission of excessive marijuana use and questions about his ability to gain weight and hold up against the run, Gregory was picked apart more than a roasted chicken during the draft process. His stunning plummet ended when the Cowboys finally selected him at No. 60 overall.

Last week, Gregory talked to Bleacher Report about the draft process, his family and his expectations as he took part in a youth football clinic during the NFL Rookie Symposium.

Bleacher Report: You seem to be enjoying yourself more than most during this event.

Gregory: I really do love working with kids, so this is great. From the time I was about 13 years old, this is what I thought I'd really like to do.

B/R: So are you thinking about coaching?

Gregory: I'm not sure I have the patience for that, but I do like working with kids, being around them. The energy they have, and the smiles. This is the second Play 60 event I've done, so I really like this.

B/R: Is there any particular story you have from working with kids that strikes you?

Gregory: Not really, other than that I connect really well with them. It seems like every time I leave one of these events, there's some kid who doesn't want to leave my side; he just clings onto me. So I always connect really well with these kids. I don't know exactly why.

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

B/R: How useful has the Rookie Symposium been in helping you understand what you're about to walk into? This is much more of a business than any other level.

Gregory: You said it right: This is a business. It's much more serious than what we did before, and we heard from guys who have been through it and understand. These guys have the stories of the do's and do not's. I talked with Donte Stallworth and we met with the people from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. That was a good event for us because I don't think people take a very serious approach when it comes to drinking and driving. I know I do and I'd like to see more people do that.

B/R: Chris Herren, the former NBA player whose life and career were shattered by drug abuse, spoke last night. Your issues are chronicled. You've been upfront about it. What did you take away from his speech?

Gregory: Definitely. He had to hit rock bottom before he could change. He lost his whole career and still couldn't change. He had to lose his whole family for him to change. His story is something we can all look at, even if you've had a problem like I had in the past or you're one of these guys who don't have a problem. Don't wait until you lose something to make a change.


B/R: You come from an interesting family. Your father is a very successful businessman with several companies. You don't really have to do this. Talk about your background.

Gregory: He's a regional director now with CVS. He had worked with Circuit City, Gateway Computers, he went to Northwestern…he has done a lot.

B/R: Have you had a lot of heart-to-heart talks with him about what you've dealt with over the past few months?

Gregory: Definitely, him and my mom. My dad is a very motivational guy, and my mom is more…tough love.

B/R: So what do you mean by "tough love" by your mom?

Gregory: It seems like no matter what you do, nothing is ever completely right for her. You can't satisfy her. She always wants more, she always expects more out of you. I think my dad is a little different. Again, my dad is the type of guy who will sit you down, tell you what you did wrong, pat you on the butt and say: "Well, your mom is going to tell you that you messed [up], I taught you better than that, but now you have to learn the hard way." She grew up that way, and that's what she tries to say by example.

B/R: Even though you were out front in admitting to using marijuana, the rumors about drug use didn't go away in the days leading up to the draft. Was that frustrating to deal with as you saw your draft stock tumble?

Gregory: You just have to be patient. It was frustrating, but I dug my own grave and I owned up to it. The best thing I could was learn from it. I think I have learned from it, and I think I'm with a great organization, the Dallas Cowboys, where they can help me. In just the couple of months I've been there, they've done a lot. I have a support group there and they believe in me. I'm glad they believe in me.

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

B/R: I covered a lot of Jason Taylor's career, and people always complained that he was too light. He was 245 at the most in his career and played a lot of his career in the 230s. How do you fight the perception that some people have that you're not heavy enough to play on a regular basis?

Gregory: I think I actually did OK playing at the weight that I played at in college. I was 235, 240 pretty much my whole college career. I've heard people say that I played bigger than my actual weight. I think if people actually sit down and watch game film, they'll see that I don't actually get pushed around as much as people say I do. I think people just assume, "He has a light body. He's a pass rusher. He must not be a good run defender." But I think if you ask anybody on the staff, Coach [Rod] Marinelli or anybody else, they'll tell you I'm doing a good job setting the edge and added weight is only going to help me. So I'm planning to add more.

B/R: What are you planning to play at?

Gregory: At least 250, maybe 255. I'm at 242, 243 right now and I still feel really light. I think I'll report to camp at 245 and go up from there.

B/R: Since I gain 10 pounds breathing air, why is it that you have so many problems gaining weight?

Gregory: Yeah, I can lose two pounds breathing air right now.

B/R: So how do you battle to gain weight?

Gregory: I don't know, patience and eating the right stuff. It's like you say, I'm pretty much lucky with my body. I can take in anything I want and pretty much not gain weight. I can turn whatever into lean body muscle. I think I'm about 6 percent body fat right now.

B/R: I really hate you.

Gregory (laughing): The most I've ever been is about 258 with 8 percent body fat. It's a good problem to have.

B/R: You were 258 once?

Gregory: Yeah, when I was heading to Nebraska, I was 258.

B/R: So that was after junior college. How did you get up that high?

Gregory: At home, that December until July when I reported to camp, I was eating as many meals as I could, taking in as much as I could, counting calories and making sure what I took in was correct.

B/R: How many calories a day are we talking about?

Gregory: On workout days, I was taking in maybe 5,000 calories. On odd days, I was taking in maybe 4,700. That's probably what I'm doing now and that's tough to squeeze in, especially when you're working as much as we do. But I use MyFitnessPal and keep track.

May 27, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (94) goes against tackle Tyron Smith (77) during OTAs at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

B/R: So what's the favorite? Mac and cheese, steaks, what is it?

Gregory: You know, I've always been a big salmon guy, but that's real lean for what I'm trying to do. Right now, I can't eat that and pack on a lot of weight quicker. Steak is big on me and chicken. I probably shouldn't eat as much fried stuff from what they said at the symposium, but it's chicken, steak, a lot of burgers. There's a lot of red meat, and I love fish, but it's so lean I have to eat some stuff that's heavier. I talk about this all the time, the perfect day is Cracker Barrel in the morning, [Raising] Cane's or Popeye's in the afternoon, then Whataburger or In-N-Out Burger later on.

B/R: Cane's is that chicken finger place?

Gregory: Oh yeah, that's the best. In the South, I think they have Zaxby's, but I like Cane's better.

B/R: So you come from a good family situation where your parents obviously had a plan. Have you thought about what you want to do when the football career comes to an end?

Gregory: Like I said before, I really like working with kids. I will definitely set up a foundation and take that as far as I can. I want to stay in the community and stay in sports. I wanted to go to school for sports marketing, but I ended up in sociology like everybody else. But I like working with people, I like working with kids.

Jason Cole covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.