DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory is seeking reinstatement to the NFL after missing the 2017 season over multiple violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy, a person with direct knowledge of the application said Friday.
Gregory’s application should be received by the league office within days in hopes that he will be reinstated in time for training camp in late July, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of privacy stipulations in the drug policy.
The NFL’s policy says those involved in the process will work to help Commissioner Roger Goodell rule within 60 days of receiving the application. The league declined to comment.
The 25-year-old Gregory last played in the 2016 regular-season finale, when the former Nebraska standout had his first career sack at the end of his second season. He was suspended before Dallas’ playoff loss , his third suspension of the season.
Gregory slid to the Cowboys at the end of the second round in 2015 because of off-field concerns that included a positive test for marijuana at the NFL combine.
The Cowboys have backed Gregory’s attempt to return to the field, with several teammates writing letters of recommendation to the NFL as part of the application process. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones, whose recent second-round gambles in the draft haven’t paid off, has praised Gregory’s character repeatedly during the pass rusher’s absence.
“I’m very aware of how hard he’s working to get back in the league and get back on the field,” Jones said last week. “It’s concerning that he needs to be in a team environment and needs to be a part of the regime of preparing to actually compete and so all of that will be a challenge for him, but very do-able.”
Gregory was considered one of the best pass rushers in his draft, and there was promise early with a strong rookie training camp. Gregory vowed that he wanted to make good on his word to Jones that he could control his issues with marijuana.
But he only made it through one season, and didn’t have a sack while missing four games with an ankle injury.
The first suspension was announced in February 2016, and he was away from the team during training camp while in rehab. The second suspension came seven months later. Gregory remained with the team while serving the 14-game ban before playing in the final two games.
The yearlong suspension kept Gregory from participating in club activities and banned him from team facilities except for sessions with the person in charge of his treatment.
“We’re still thinking about him and hoping he gets everything done the right way off the field and then good things will happen for him,” executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones said last week. “If that happens, then we all know what kind of player he can be.”