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Report: Randy Gregory had relapse in August, could face discipline from NFL as soon as this week

This isn’t good.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season kicks off for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, and when it does they’ll have defensive end Randy Gregory at their disposal for the first time in quite a while.

Could Sunday be the last we see of Gregory for some time, potentially ever? Those thoughts are definitely starting to creep into place as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday morning that Gregory relapsed in August and that the NFL could discipline him as early as this week.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory, who will play in his first regular-season game since 2016 on Sunday, suffered a substance-related relapse last month that the NFL could rule on as early as this week, league sources tell ESPN.

Right before the Cowboys’ third preseason game against the Cardinals came to a close, a report surfaced that more trouble “could be ahead” for Gregory, and it would stand to reason that this is the aforementioned potential trouble. Randy has done an immense amount of work to get back to the playing field, but a relapse would obviously have the potential to derail all of it.

Perhaps the initial report was correct in the wording though, specifically in the world “could.” Schefter notes that the NFL, surprisingly, has become more tolerant of drug violations, especially among players who have dealt with addiction issues as Gregory has noted he has.

More and more, in one of the interesting and quiet trends around the league, the NFL has become more tolerant when a player violates the drug policy. It has softened its stance on drug policy perpetrators. There have been multiple examples this offseason of a player having a disputed test, with the league emphasizing treatment and support rather than discipline, which was one of the NFLPA’s goals when the policy was reconfigured in 2014.

We’ll keep a watchful eye on this situation as next week unfolds. Between now and then the Dallas Cowboys begin their season and Gregory will play, but who knows how long after that.

Update: 12:15pm ET

According to the Dallas Morning News, Randy Gregory’s agent hasn’t been informed of anything that might negatively impact Randy on the football field.

Gregory’s agent Steve Weinberg said Sunday morning he hadn’t been contacted by the league or team regarding a slip-up or risk of suspension.

”He’s active, reinstated and playing football,” said Weinberg, noting the high rate of relapse in substance abusers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates the relapse rate for substance-abuse disorders between 40 and 60 percent.

”His struggles are going to continue in the season, the offseason, a year from now,” Weinberg added. “It comes back to what Jerry Jones said: It’s a struggle every day [and] he’s going to struggle with this the rest of his life.”

We’ll continue to update this post as more information becomes available.

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