Cowboys DE Randy Gregory relishes new leadership role: ‘Still a lot to prove on the field’
The remarkable journey continues for Randy Gregory. Since entering the pros in 2015, the electrifying defensive end has played in just 26 games. But the Cowboys organization has stuck with him through a gauntlet of personal challenges. Now he’s been named to the team’s leadership council.
But that’s far from the end of Gregory’s story. He’s writing the next chapter this summer in Oxnard with what has been, by all accounts, a thoroughly dominating performance at training camp.
But Gregory is keeping it all in perspective.
“Look, I still have a lot to prove,” the 28-year-old told reporters on Saturday. “I think there’s a lot of talk going around right now; I really believe I’m having a good offseason. But there’s still a lot to prove on the field. So I don’t want to sit here and say, ‘Did you ever doubt that you’d get here?’ I still feel like I haven’t truly arrived. There’s a lot for me to do.”
A projected high-first-round draft pick out of Nebraska, he fell to Dallas in the second round after a failed drug test. On the field for the Cowboys, he was thrilling to watch. But he had difficulty staying there, due to various injuries and multiple suspensions by the league.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remained committed to Gregory as he sought medical treatment and continued to put in the work on his mental health. The strides he’s made have now earned him a spot as one of the team’s recognized leaders, even if he’s spent more of his Cowboys career to this point off the field than on it.
Mike McCarthy: "He has made a huge leap but it is just the beginning…hell of a football player. The sky is the limit for Randy Gregory."
He has been appointed to the team's leadership council and McCarthy stressed Gregory "commands respect" for what he has accomplished.
— Brianna Dix (@DixBrianna) July 31, 2021
“It was a surprise for me, too,” Gregory blushed. “I saw it, and I wasn’t really expecting that. But I think that it says a lot about my journey as far as my growth. Five years ago, this would never even be a conversation. I didn’t have any sort of leadership skills. Even right now, I’m still working on those things. One of my things is just being more vocal. I haven’t been very good at that in the past; I’m trying to do that around the guys. I think I’m doing a good job of it. Next is obviously putting a good product on the field, making sure I know what I need to do so I actually look like a leader and act like a leader.”
A leader is something the Cowboys defense could certainly use as they try to exorcise the demons of 2020.
“We understand where we were at last year, the guys that were on the team and obviously, guys that saw us play last year,” Gregory explained. “We weren’t a very good defense. At all. I think we were worst in the league, right? Almost the worst. For us, we’ve just got to go out there and build on each day. That’s what [defensive coordinator] Dan Quinn talks about all the time. That’s what we’re doing.”
Build on each day.
If that’s the mantra, the Cowboys couldn’t have picked a better leader than Randy Gregory.
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