Is Cowboys DE Randy Gregory 'Locked In'? Or Will 'Relapse' Lock Him Out?

Mike Fisher
September 09, 2018 - 1:23 pm
Randy Gregory

© Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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CHARLOTTE (105.3 THE FAN) - “Every time and all the time, my mom would tell me, ‘If you step in that bad direction, here’s exactly what the ramifications will be,’” Randy Gregory told me a few days ago. “And every single time, she was right.”

Today, Gregory is with the Dallas Cowboys in Charlotte, antsy as he awaits the season-opening kickoff against the Panthers locker ... and aware of the angst in Cowboys Nation.

Did Gregory experience an August “drug relapse,” as reported? Has mom Mary Gregory been proven right “every single time” yet again?

Gregory’s own response comes via Twitter, where he suggests he’s “locked in.” But that doesn't mean the league can't somehow "lock him out.''

According to a series of interviews conducted with people close to

the NFL decision to reinstate Gregory after serving two years of suspension for drug issues, along with documents I’ve obtained, the league's leash on the rehabbing player remains short and taut.

Not only would a failed drug test result in another “indefinite suspension,” but a missed test or even a Gregory failure to account for his whereabouts at a given time could do the same.

The ESPN report, like almost countless reports before it that to some in Gregory’s camp feel like “guessing/predicting Randy is going to fail,” was vague. It doesn’t explain why the league is “investigating” what the report insists is a “relapse.” It doesn’t take into account the possibilities of a missed test or a clerical/communications error. It doesn’t explain why a player I the drug program tied to an incredibly tight leash is being allowed to play against Carolina today.

The Cowboys’ openly-stated position is that Gregory is “vulnerable” due to his issues with marijuana use as a mental-health coping tool. That’s the tightrope the 25-year-old pass-rusher walks as he “tries to be happy with myself,” as he puts it.

Attorney Daniel Moskowitz’ position? He tells me that much reinstatement petition to the NFL, along with the final in-person presentation Gregory made before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, was about demonstrating that "the Randy portrayed by some isn’t an inkling close to reality of who he really is as a person, son, father, teammate and friend. So we had to change the misconceptions some people may have had.''

As Gregory has said in interviews, and surely said to Goodell, he's

"a whole different person.''

That is the hope, for Gregory the football player and for Gregory the man. But he is acutely aware that his reinstatement was, according to the official paperwork I’ve seen, on a "conditional'' basis, with substantial reservations put in writing.

Also in writing:

*NFL doctors believe Gregory's "ability to sustain psychological health is very much an ongoing process.''

*His help with "psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy” must continue, he is “strictly required'' to inform league officials of his whereabouts at all times, and more demands include follow-up care and treatment, attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous-type meetings, a continuing relationship with a 12-step sponsor and a life coach, and a live-in companion to help with that structure.

Did Gregory actually fail a drug test? Or did he violate one of these tenets? Or, as some in his circle believe, does this latest headline stem from an earlier headline this month when Gregory spoke off-the-record with reporters and referred to the NFL’s level of concern over marijuana use vs. it’s concern over mental health as “trash,” only to see his quote end up in the newspaper, somehow at the core of this?

Mom Mary Gregory told Randy what would happen if he “stepped in the wrong direction.” Before we determine whether she's right yet again, we must determine exactly what is it that Randy Gregory's done wrong.