There has been very little going on for the NFL lately, and so very much happening outside the world of football. With the lull in the NFL schedule, there are still some bits of NFL business that seem like they can be handled in the midst of all. One such thing that was handled was the reinstatement of Aldon Smith, who is now cleared to return to the game for the Dallas Cowboys. It makes sense that it was resolved, because it was basically a case of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reviewing the information at hand and making a decision. But with that taken care of, it makes another lingering question very puzzling. What is going to happen with the case of Randy Gregory?
Like Smith, he was suspended indefinitely, although for different reasons. Gregory’s are reportedly all about the use of cannabis as a form of self medication, in violation of NFL rules. However, the new CBA has greatly relaxed those strictures. That would seem to clear the way for Gregory to join Smith at defensive end. Yet we still have silence from the NFL offices. There is no news. No updates. Just some occasional optimistic takes from both within the organization and without.
Not only do we not know what a decision will be, we have no idea when it will happen. We aren’t even sure what we don’t know. There have been reports that his appeal was filed with the league more than the required sixty days ago, but those do not seem to be definitive. We are left in the dark, wondering not only when the light will come, but why it remains so unknown.
We have to reiterate the caveat that Gregory’s case may not have been filed more than 60 days ago. As mentioned, we don’t even know if it has been officially filed. There was some chatter that it had been filed back in March, with ESPN saying a source told them in a report on March 22nd that he had filed for reinstatement. But back on May 9th Stephen Jones said he wasn’t even sure what Gregory had done yet in terms of dealing with the commissioner. So definitive information is murky
If Gregory did file back in March, then it is past sixty days and no news yet would seem to be a disservice to both Gregory and the team. For him, it is prolonging the wait to find out if he will be able to resume a promising career. Obviously there are financial impacts for him, but various reports also indicate he is eager to get back on the field to further get his life in order and have a clear direction. Even if, for whatever reason, the commissioner declined to reinstate him, that would let Gregory begin to plan for what he is going to to instead. It is a limbo that must be uncomfortable and at times highly frustrating. When you consider the indications that his transgressions were a result of his own mental health struggles, it just compounds the impact. Even some word on when a decision was likely would help to alleviate some of the anxiety.
The team is naturally interested in knowing if he is going to be in the mix when training camp starts. They have a new defensive staff, and surely Mike Nolan and Jim Tomsula would appreciate knowing if he is going to be part of the equation. Smith’s reinstatement makes things less critical, but you can never have too many pass rushers, especially when you consider the talent and proficiency that Gregory flashed at times.
There is one possible explanation for delay. It would be understandable if Goodell and his staff are a bit distracted by the many crucial decisions and judgments involved in getting the league started again with the ongoing and very uncertain health crisis, plus dealing with the recent explosion of protests. Countering that, though, is that the information required for making the call should all be at hand. If Gregory has filed, this shouldn’t be too difficult of a process. The Aldon Smith case is a good example of this being handled in a timely way.
We do not have a full understanding of why this is taking so long, and why there is no information coming from the league. Occam’s razor would say that Gregory not filing yet is the answer. If he has filed, though, it is past time to have some kind of resolution. Hopefully, something will happen before camp begins.