Can’t Blame the Dallas Cowboys for Taking a Chance on Randy Gregory

The NFL Draft has come and gone once again. Some teams took proven commodities while others gambled on a player’s potential. The Dallas Cowboys are one of the teams who drafted a proven player, but gambled on the fact he can stay out of trouble with the league’s substance abuse policy.randy-gregory

Randy Gregory was selected by the Cowboys with the 60th pick in the second round. Many people are calling this pick a steal. Gregory was projected as a top five selection in the draft prior to a positive test for marijuana at the NFL Combine.

After the story came out in late March, Gregory was telling everyone who would listen that he had not smoked any “Mary Jane” since December and that pot smoking was so prevalent on the Nebraska campus that the positive test must have come as a result of inhaling second hand smoke at parties.

I don’t think Gregory ever watched the movie Friday with Chris Tucker’s character Smokey who smoked weed all day long. Smokey’s motto was “Puff, Puff, Give”, but it sounds like Gregory followed “Puff, Puff, Puff”.

Gregory definitely likes his weed and now enters the league as a first time offender in their substance abuse program. Basically, he will be tested more often than other players in the league. Gregory and other offenders need to basically be ready to pee in a cup at anytime as mandated by the NFL’s medical officers. Further positive tests would result in game check penalties and then game suspensions without pay. By the time a player has violated the NFL substance abuse policy a third time, they are subject to a year-long suspension as is the case for the upcoming season with Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Josh Gordon and Miami Dolphins’ defensive end Dion Jordan.

There is no doubt people expected Gregory to drop in the draft due to his issues with pot use. However, he supposedly alienated some teams by missing scheduled interviews. There is also a rumor out there that Gregory has bipolar disorder.

Whatever the case may be for his fall, Cowboys’ head coach believes his team has to put supports in place to help Gregory with the red flags that led to his drop in the draft. Garrett shared the following statement with the NFL Network following the drafting of Gregory.

“We think his football character is very good. He practices hard, he plays hard. … Obviously, there are some off-the-field concerns with him. To test positive at Indianapolis (at the NFL combine) for drugs is an issue. It’s a red flag. But we spent a lot of time with him. We spent a lot of time with people who know him, have been around him. And we got our arms around the fact that, at the right selection, he could be someone we fee like we could bring into our organization. With the right support system — from the coaching staff and from other people that we have — we could get him on the right track. Again, we feel like he’s a very talented guy with very good football character. We have to help him with some of the off-the-field stuff and we’re excited about that challenge.”

Former Cowboys’ great Charles Haley, a 2015 Hall of Famer and a pass rusher who came to the Cowboys with a troubled past, also supported the selection of Gregory by Big D when talking to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.

“He’s got an owner that’s not only going to stand with him, but stand in front of him and take some of the blows. And Jerry [Jones] is not alone. He has a family of ex-players that love the Dallas Cowboys and are willing to come back and help. The film that I saw, hey, the guy can get it done. I just can’t believe that they got him in the second round. The Cowboys got a steal. You can’t have enough pass rushers. The guy should come in with a chip on his shoulder from being a second-rounder. Just like a lot of those guys that got drafted later, you come here with an attitude ready to work, because most guys come in as a first rounder and they think they already got it. He’s got something to prove. The best pass rushers are those that don’t have fear. When I watched this kid play, he’s not afraid to stick his nose in there. He’s not afraid to be great.”

Character issues aside, there is no doubt Gregory has the ability to be a Pro Bowl player. The Cowboys have even given Gregory the number 94 worn by former Cowboy and future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys are in dire need of a pass rusher with free agent signee currently set to miss the first ten games of the season. Gregory recorded 17 and a half sacks in two years at Nebraska. The Cowboys need him to use his quickness off the ball and tenacity to get to the quarterback as a means to improve a defense that dramatically improved last season, but still has a way to go to be Super Bowl worthy.

The Cowboys took a chance on Gregory and it was worth it. If they can provide him with the proper supports, he may end up being one of the biggest steals in NFL draft history. Five years ago, owner Jerry Jones traded up in the draft to select a talented, but troubled receiver in Dez Bryant. While Bryant has had some issues, the Cowboys have put supports in place that have enabled Bryant to emerge as one of the best receivers in the game today.

How this story ends depends on Gregory. He definitely is talking with a chip on his shoulder and expects to make an immediate impact and better choices. Gregory needs to look at the case of Warren Sapp who went from the projected top pick to the twelfth pick in 1995 after he tested positive for marijuana at the combine. Sapp went on to a successful 12 year NFL career that culminated in him being voted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Dropping in the draft motivated Sapp as he wanted to prove teams were wrong for not drafting him. Gregory has the ability to do the same. You better believe Jones will do whatever it takes to make Gregory succeed so he can look like a genius in the eyes of others. The NFL season can’t come soon enough.

And that’s as I see it!

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Twitter handle: @Scott_Asiseeit

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