After meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, sources have confirmed that suspended Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory plans to work out with former Oakland Raiders defensive end Greg Townsend in hopes of being ready for training camp, if he is reinstated.
There is no guarantee that Gregory will be reinstated.
He has not played football since 2016 after being suspended indefinitely by Goodell for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
But the meeting with Goodell Tuesday was a good sign and a good step in the process.
Gregory has played in just 14 games since the Cowboys picked him in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played in 12 as a rookie. In 2016, he missed the first 14 games under NFL suspension, returned for two games at the end of the season before being suspended indefinitely Jan. 16, 2017.
Gregory has worked hard to get back in the league, spending more than six weeks in a drug and alcohol rehab program, passing all his drug tests and adhering to counseling as part of six-month intense rehab regimen, as detailed by Yahoo Sports.
Gregory officially applied for reinstatement last month with the hopes of the commissioner making a decision before the start of training camp, which begins July 24.
It’s unclear how much Gregory can help the Cowboys in 2018 after so much time away from football. But there is no question that being back with the Cowboys and around his teammates in a structured environment is considered best for him.
“I worry about the man,” said defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford, one of several Cowboys to write letters to the NFL on behalf of Gregory’s reinstatement. “I hope for his sake he can get back into the league and back around the guys in the locker room. This is his family. This where he needs to be.”
While Gregory is working with Townsend to get ready, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said the Cowboys would take it slow upon his eventual return.
“I think the first [thing] with him, get him in a stance and get him going,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. “He’s been off for a long time. He’s talented, no question. He’s a great guy and he’s smart. But the No. 1 thing we’ve got to do is just groove him back in, groove him back in before I start setting standards for him and goals. Let’s just get him in a stance, start teaching him the game of football. Because like I say, if you don’t play for three or four months – a year, it’s not the same, the timing. So I’m just excited to get a chance to work with him again.”
Said coach Jason Garrett: “I just think you try to find out where he is,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He has been here [in the past]. I think he understands how we want to do things. So it’s not like it’s a new guy who’s walking in the door. You use that history, but at the same time, you kind of get him caught up. You do make sure you emphasize the conditioning, the fundamentals, all the basic things of football that you really try to do with your team every year, and make sure whatever situation you put him in, he’s able to handle it physically.”
Clarence E. Hill Jr.: @clarencehilljr