The Dallas Cowboys optimism on a Randy Gregory reinstatement


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(Photo: Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports)

The Randy Gregory camp is optimistic about his chance for NFL reinstatement. Two years of passing drug tests and what I’m told is a 2,000-page presentation featuring those test results plus testimony from prominent Dallas Cowboys teammates, industry powerhouses, civic leaders and influential celebrities justifies that optimism.

But there is also some urgency on the part of all involved as it regards the league’s steps to apply for reinstatement. And all you need to have to understand why Gregory is hopeful of filing with the NFL next week is a calendar.

“I have been proud of Randy during this offseason,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said during Wednesday’s sponsors golf event. “I’m very aware of how hard he’s working to get back in the league and get back on the field. We know that his talent level.”

But there are, by rule, certain things the Cowboys are not supposed to do, as teams are limited as to how much contact they can have with a suspended player. So how can we know about Dallas’ sense of urgency here?

The NFL rules call for the commissioner to hand down a judgment within 60 days of receiving the application for reinstatement. Sources tell me the first goal was to assemble all the testimony (again, not just from assorted teammates like Tyrone Crawford, Sean Lee and Jeff Heath, as has been widely reported, but also from circles of influence that go far beyond the Dallas locker room) by April 27, and then to submit it by May 1. The sheer volume of information made that target unreachable.

But given that the Cowboys figure to start training camp around the end of July, do the math: The 60-day window needs to be triggered, with Gregory’s submission, in the next two weeks or so, in order to allow the player to join his team in Oxnard.

“I don’t want to be presumptuous in any way whether or not he’s going to qualify to be reinstated,” Jones said, and that is wise. But it is not “presumptuous” to recognize that Dallas is well aware of the calendar. Nor is it “presumptuous” to report on how many those with knowledge of Gregory’s situation — the former second-round pick hasn’t played since the regular-season finale in 2016, and the league suspended the pass-rusher on January 6, 2017, for at least a year for violating its substance abuse policy — share his camp’s optimism.

“I tried to give my two cents to the league and what I think is best for Randy,” Crawford said Wednesday. “I think it’s best he’s back in the locker room, he’s back around us. I think it will be good for him, and it’ll be good for us.”

Even the usually buttoned-up Jason Garrett is giving off positive vibes here.

“We’ll go through the process,” the Cowboys coach said “Any way we can help to support him, we’ll certainly embrace that opportunity. He’s someone that has worked very hard at this and we’re excited about his future.”

It’s a future that can come with the help of a 2,000-page document…and a 60-day window on which the clock is ticking.



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