Randy Gregory Suspended 4 Games: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2016

Dallas Cowboys' Randy Gregory watches play from the sideline during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Brandon Wade/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has been suspended for the first four games of next season after violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

The NFL confirmed Gregory's suspension in an official press release (via Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports).

Per the NFL's official statement, the 23-year-old is still eligible to take part in all of the Cowboys' offseason and preseason practices and games.

Citing the league's drug policy, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted Gregory's suspension indicates he has failed four tests:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Per @NFL drug policy, Randy Gregory failed 4 tests. 1st at combine -- in the program. Then 2-gm fine, then 4-gm fine, then 4-gm suspension

However, Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweeted out Gregory's suspension may not have been due to marijuana:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Don't know if Randy Gregory ban was triggered by positive tests or other issue. Number would depend on substance. https://t.co/bx3UM7TxJi

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones commented about the incident on Feb. 21, per Charean Williams of Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "This is a disappointment. We have been clear with Randy about what his responsibilities are and what is expected."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones echoed those comments on Saturday, saying, "It's embarrassing for everybody," per Jon Mochata of the Dallas Morning News. Jones noted he was disappointed, but the team was aware of Gregory's circumstances when he was drafted.

Gregory entered the NFL with questions about his makeup. The former Nebraska standout had the talent to be a first-round pick last year, but a failed drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine left his stock uncertain. 

Speaking to Kimberly Jones of NFL.com about his failed test in Indianapolis last year, Gregory did not point the finger at anyone else: "And I know it sounds cliche, but there's really no one else I can blame."

The Cowboys believed in Gregory's talent enough to make him the 60th overall pick in the 2015 draft. He played sparingly as a rookie, appearing in 12 games and recording just seven tackles. 

As Robinson noted, sometimes betting on talent over character can bury a team:

Charles Robinson @CharlesRobinson

Randy Gregory is an example of why some #NFL teams take guys who fail combine drug tests off the board. Trusting they'll change is a gamble.

With Gregory's suspension, the Cowboys' questions on defense continue to grow. Greg Hardy, who was the primary right defensive end on the depth chart ahead of Gregory last year, is scheduled to become a free agent.

Hardy didn't endear himself to the Cowboys, with Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News noting the controversial defensive end was "a constant problem...because of what he said on social media and his off-the-field habits."

The Cowboys may not have been ready to give Gregory a starting job in 2016, but his suspension is a sign the team will have to address the defensive line at some point in the offseason. 

Given Gregory's limited playing time last season, his standing in the organization didn't seem to be on steady ground before the suspension.


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