In the midst of a resurgent season for the Dallas Cowboys, one of their top defensive players has not been able to really take part.
Defensive end Randy Gregory had been suspended for the first 14 games of this season due to a 2015 season violation and another violation this past offseason. He was able to return for the Cowboys final two games of this regular season where he compiled nine tackles and one sack.
This recent suspension was handed down after he had just participated in the Cowboys first postseason practice. Due to another violation, he was suspended for a calendar year which means that, if he does what he is supposed to do, he will be able to return for the playoffs next year if the team makes it.
Two things here.
One, Gregory is a promising young defensive pass rusher that, despite only playing the last two games of this season, sparked the Cowboys defense and clearly gave them another dimension on the defensive side of the football with his ability to wreak havoc and rush the passer. Gregory’s impact for this playoff run only would have enhanced, especially with the Cowboys playing a red hot Aaron Rodgers who in the last eight games, including last week’s Wildcard game, has thrown for 22 touchdowns and not a single interception. With Gregory on the prowl, Rodgers would have had something extra to think about and the threat could have been a major key for the defense.
Two, and most importantly, Gregory represents the risk of drafting players with high risk and high reward.
Gregory clearly has some issues with drug abuse, and it’s an issue that hasn’t fully stopped and been corrected under the watch of the Dallas Cowboys and any program that they have installed for him.
Although team reps say that he has made tremendous amount of progress in this regard, there still is a lingering factor that keeps him in trouble and gives him the mindset to continue to do these things related to drugs.
The good thing about it is that he clearly has the continued support of his team and head coach Jason Garrett.
“Since he’s been drafted by us, he’s done a lot of stuff in his life to try to get his life right. He’s worked very hard at that with professional people who know what they’re doing. We believe he’s made great strides,” Garrett said. “We’re certainly going to support him as he goes forward each and every day and hopefully he’ll continue on the same path he’s been on.”
This is a good step in the process as he knows that he is still supported by his organization, a support that many players do not feel if even if they haven’t violated any rules.
The bottom line here is that when you have the immense talent that Gregory possesses, teams will work with you to correct any flaws because your impact on the game and the team is that vital. Gregory is a difference maker and could potentially be on the best defensive forces in the game, if he corrects this major issue.
For his sake, and the Cowboys’ as well, I hope that he is able to do so.
How will Gregory’s suspension affect the Cowboy’s playoff run? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3