Cowboys Get Aldon Smith In; Scoop on Randy Gregory
FRISCO - The news on Aldon Smith’s NFL reinstatement naturally leads to a question about the status of similarly-suspended Randy Gregory.
So we asked.
Agent Peter Schaefer to me:
“We’re working through the process. We’re happy for Aldon Smith. We wish him all the luck in the world and a successful resumption of his career.
“It’s refreshing to see the NFL following through on the stated goal to focus more on rehabilitation of the player than on punishing the player.”
Yes, the Dallas Cowboys optimism is real.
"I'm hopeful of a return to football in 2020,'' Gregory told NFL Network's Jane Slater not long ago.
On July 11, we broke the detailed story of Randy Gregory's NFL petition-for-reinstatement plan. The paperwork was to be submitted four days later, on July 15. Ten days later, we wrote a second story quoting two members of the suspended Dallas Cowboys player's legal team, both of whom spoke with optimism about the process.
Then months passed. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was required to issue a judgment within 60 days of a player's submission - and that judgment never came.
So ... what happened? And what's happening now?
In my many stories on and my many conversations with Gregory, the gifted former second-round pick who struggles with issues that include marijuana use, I've stressed that this really needs to be about Gregory the person rather than Gregory the football player.
We're left to conclude that Gregory stumbled then ... but we were told earlier this week (and mentioned on 105.3 The Fan) that he's ready to take another shot at the NFL now.
"I'm working very hard to get to a place where I can be in control,'' Gregory told me then. "It will be a happier place.''
Can that place be back with the Dallas Cowboys, the employer with whom he retails an official tie? That's the idea.
The Cowboys still have Gregory's rights, of course, and he's played very little football over the course of his checkered career. But Cowboys ownership believes in him. Maybe the decriminalization of marijuana in the new CBA helps him, too. But it is so key to remember: Each of these players is different, as we all are. There is no one-size-fits-all for rehabbing someone who struggles with addiction or an emotional disorder.
It is hoped, most of all, the story here will be that Randy Gregory has found a "happier place'' ... where playing in the NFL is part of the happiness.
And that maybe he’ll do it alongside Aldon Smith.