Anyone can make a mistake, after all to err is human. What comes after the mistake is what will separate the men from the boys, and Dallas Cowboys rookie pass rusher Randy Gregory has made the decision to man up and confront his mistakes head on. The former Nebraska Cornhusker entered the world of professional football with a plethora of personal character concerns, including the drug test he failed at the 2015 combine. Even without his problems with controlled substances, some teams questioned his ability to transition to Sunday afternoon football.
"He's a good football player, his only on-field issue is his weight and body mass," said an AFC personnel exec. "When you draft a player, it's easy to see the skills they have to transfer and perform at the next level. But with pro football, there's so much more that goes into it because you face a great athlete every week, so your character gets tested."
Gregory is well aware of those concerns and he knows that with the Cowboys he is in a situation where the ownership genuinely cares about the men on the field the team has a built in support structure that he will be able to take advantage of.
"It was frustrating, but I dug my own grave and I owned up to it. The best thing I could was learn from it. I think I have learned from it, and I think I'm with a great organization, the Dallas Cowboys where they can help me. In just the couple of months I've been there, they've done a lot. I have a support group there and they believe in me. I'm glad they believe in me." - Randy Gregory
This is not the first rodeo for the team. It was a well-covered event when the team helped to guide a troubled young wide receiver out of Oklahoma State named Dez Bryant as he faced various off the field concerns at the outset of his career. The franchise appears to be taking a similar course to help Gregory progress into the next stage of his life. There will be some 'Tough Love' involved as the Cowboys guide their newest defensive end down the road he must travel, but that is something the he is used to receiving. Tough love is how his mother guided Randy through the early years of his life, and it appears that he knows that it is something that he needs to keep him on the straight and narrow path.
"It seems like no matter what you do, nothing is ever completely right for her. You can't satisfy her. She always wants more, she always expects more out of you. I think my dad is a little different. Again, my dad is the type of guy who will sit you down, tell you what you did wrong, pat you on the butt and say: "Well, your mom is going to tell you that you messed [up], I taught you better than that, but now you have to learn the hard way." She grew up that way, and that's what she tries to say by example."
Looking at what Gregory just said, and inserting Rod Marinelli into the 'MOM' role, makes you realize that Randy is in exactly the right spot. Coach Marinelli will provide all the tough love that is needed and then some. With the commitment from Gregory, the push from his defensive coordinator, and an overall watchful eye from a franchise experienced in guiding troubled athletes down the path that they should follow it appears that the calculated risk that Dallas took in the second round of the draft will have a better than average chance to pay off for all parties involved.