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Randy Gregory Ruled Eligible to Play for Cowboys in Week 16 vs. Lions

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 13: Randy Gregory #94 of the Dallas Cowboys in action against the Green Bay Packers during the game at Lambeau Field on December 13, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Cowboys 28-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

One of the best teams in the NFL will be adding another impact player to its defense for Week 16.

On Dec. 18, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told David Helman of the team's official website that defensive end Randy Gregory is eligible to return for the team's game against the Detroit Lions after being under suspension for the entire 2016 season to this point.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed the news Dec. 19, per NFL Network's James Palmer.

On Dec. 20, Jones said Gregory will "absolutely" appear in one or both of the final two games of the season, per Troy Hughes of 105.3 The Fan. Gregory was officially added to the roster on Monday and will feature against the Lions, per Todd Archer of ESPN.

The NFL suspended Gregory for the first four games of the season due to a drug-policy violation, and in September, the league added a 10-game suspension due to another violation.

According to FanSided's George Stockburger (via NFL Mocks, h/t Fox Sports), NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported a third violation in November, and "Gregory still faces a year-long suspension due to the multiple positive tests."

Rapoport reported last Thursday morning that Gregory's appeal won't be until January at the earliest, so "he'll almost certainly play into [the] playoffs."

The Cowboys (12-2) face the Detroit Lions in Week 16 and can clinch the NFC East—and No. 1 seed in the conference—with a win.

Gregory played in 12 games during his rookie season, totaling 11 tackles.

Despite the modest statistics, the 6'5", 245-pound lineman has tons of potential to make an impact in the NFL. He could have been a top-10 pick in the 2015 draft until testing positive for marijuana in a test at the combine.

"I made a real dumb decision, the most embarrassing of my life up to this point," Gregory said after falling to the No. 60 pick in the draft, per Jim Corbett of USA Today. "I'm just ready to fix it. The best way I know how to do that is to go out there on the football field, make plays and carry myself the way I was brought up by my parents."

Multiple drug-policy violations since that point show there are still major question marks surrounding the player.

The Cowboys defense has stepped up lately, holding its last three opponents to an average of just 15 points per game. Still, the team could always use someone of Gregory's ability.

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