Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory is expected to be active for the season opener on Sunday, and if he plays it will be his first game action since the 2016 regular-season finale.
But as long as it’s been since Gregory was last in uniform, he may quickly be out of one again.
Substance-related relapse for Randy Gregory
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that Gregory may face more discipline from the league.
Schefter writes that Gregory suffered a “substance-related relapse” in August; he was reinstated in July, after meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Gregory was the 60th overall pick in 2015 and has played in just 14 career games with zero starts. He missed all of 2017 because of multiple violations of the NFL policy on substance abuse.
The league could make a ruling as early as this week, but sources told Schefter that Dallas thought the decision would have been made already. The league is still studying Gregory’s case and the steps the 25-year-old has taken over the past month are being factored in.
Gregory has missed 30 of the past 32 regular-season games due to his off-field issues and suspensions.
NFL changing stance on substance issues?
Schefter notes that the NFL is becoming “more tolerant” of players who violate the drug policy, and has softened its stance on substances of addiction (as opposed to performance-enhancing substances).
“There have been multiple examples this offseason of a player having a disputed test, with the league emphasizing treatment and support rather than discipline, which was one of the NFLPA’s goals when the policy was reconfigured in 2014,” Schefter wrote.
As it appears to be doing with Gregory, the league is recognizing that suspension is not the best way to address players who may have an addiction issue. Gregory, however, could still be suspended.
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