Gus Ruelas/Associated Press
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters he expects defensive end Randy Gregory to be in the lineup for the team's season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
Gregory, 25, missed the entire 2017 season because of a violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. He has appeared in only 14 games since being taken in the second round of the 2015 draft.
"We certainly have had players that have had challenges—if you will, dependence. And we've had players that have overcome that and get to play in the National Football League. So when you have one, that really burns a candle and gives you a lot of tolerance is not the word, but it just gives you a lot of promise.
"So, yes, I'd rather lean that way than the other way. Now the problem is reality sets in and you have numbers, you have roster spots, you have a lot of things that keep you from really having to limit the players and consequently it has to be extraordinary players ... and so you get the old adage that, 'Well, he wouldn't be doing that for a down-the-line guy. They wouldn't be that tolerant of a down-the-line guy.' Well, that's true."
Gregory was considered a first-round lock before substance-abuse concerns pushed him all the way to No. 60 overall.
The former Nebraska star recorded 16.5 sacks during his time with the Huskers (2013 and 2014) and was touted for his incredible physical gifts. Gregory is listed at 6'5" and 242 pounds, and he has the ability to rush from the defensive end or linebacker position.
The media has not gotten a chance to speak with Gregory since he was reinstated earlier this year. He was not listed on the Cowboys' first unofficial depth chart ahead of their preseason opener and has been brought along slowly in training camp. The team has mostly held him to conditioning and individual drills while he returns to football shape.