FRISCO, Texas — As unusual because it may appear, all of that is true: Randy Gregory is 28 years outdated. He’s the second longest tenured Dallas Cowboys defender. He has performed solely 38 video games because the Cowboys drafted him as a second-round decide in 2015.
A sequence of suspensions for violating the NFL’s substance abuse coverage compelled Gregory to overlook 54 video games (together with the entire 2017 and 2019 seasons). He missed 4 extra due to an ankle damage in his rookie season.
And, for the primary time since 2015, Gregory is participating within the Cowboys’ offseason program.
“I wish to get away from that previous,” Gregory mentioned Tuesday after the primary day of the Cowboys’ obligatory minicamp. “I really feel like there is a sure narrative you guys must observe or select to observe so far as my journey. That is what folks wish to examine and listen to about. I perceive. It is previously. I’ve achieved an incredible job the previous couple of years with the group on and off the sphere, and I am trying ahead to the long run, if that is three years, 5 years, no matter it’s.
“I am having enjoyable. I am doing what I have to do. The coaches love me, the gamers love me — no less than I feel they do — and I am not fearful about all the opposite stuff. I am doing job.”
As adept as Gregory is at dashing the passer and creating strain, working from his previous has been troublesome. However as he spoke Tuesday, his previous didn’t come up by the primary 10 minutes of the interview session.
The questions requested included how his participation within the offseason program will assist, his function on the protection final season and what may change for 2021, his frustration at his lack of taking part in time, his dimension and ideas on Cowboys coordinator Dan Quinn.
“It is sort of humorous, I used to be speaking to my dad the opposite day, and he is a geek in the case of soccer and Cowboys and me and particularly in the case of me,” Gregory mentioned. “So he reads all these things, is aware of all these things talked about me and he is like, ‘It is humorous I do not see you being talked about as a lot within the media this yr. I do not know if it is since you’re right here and there is not that storyline or what?’ Yeah, I feel that is factor. It is a win, I’d agree.”
A standout at Nebraska, Gregory arrived in Dallas with a lot promise. He was thought-about by many to be the highest pass-rusher within the 2015 draft, however many groups have been scared off due to off area issues. The Cowboys received a first-round expertise within the second spherical and hoped he can be their subsequent DeMarcus Ware, even giving him the No. 94 jersey.
In his 38 video games, Gregory has 10.5 sacks. Ware had greater than 10.5 sacks in seven of his 9 seasons with the Cowboys.
Nonetheless, the promise stays.
“After I have a look at Randy’s private analysis, I gave him two arrows pointing up,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy mentioned, recalling Gregory was reinstated to play starting in Week 7 final season and the group needed to make certain he was absolutely prepared.
“You get on the finish of the season and also you have a look at his manufacturing and you are like, ‘Nicely, coach why the hell did not he play extra?'” mentioned McCarthy. “Yeah, I get it. However when you return to the trail that he was on, not having an opportunity to work with him earlier than that, he hasn’t been on the soccer area, so I feel clearly his path final yr was simply, he simply continued to rise with each alternative that he had. So now going by a full offseason, I undoubtedly suppose he could be a premier, main participant for us on protection.”
Gregory admitted he was annoyed at a scarcity of taking part in time final season. He had 3.5 sacks with 17 tackles, two tackles for loss, three compelled fumbles and a cross deflection. His 16 quarterback pressures have been third most on the protection.
“I’ve all the time been assured in myself,” Gregory mentioned. “I’ve all the time felt like that I might compete at a excessive stage. I feel final yr was extra about getting me on the market in the appropriate spot and really giving me alternatives to point out what I can do on the sphere. Actually, at occasions I felt like I did not get that probability. I feel it was fairly apparent. However I’ve loads of religion within the workers proper now. I’ve loads of religion in my play. It’ll be enjoyable to go on the market and play on this protection.”
Quinn has a historical past with Gregory. The Cowboys coordinator, who was the Atlanta Falcons coach on the time, labored Gregory out at Nebraska previous to the 2015 draft.
“I believed, ‘Man, I so badly needed to educate him,’ as a result of I noticed all of the traits, all of the pace,” Quinn mentioned. “He is received this distinctive means to go full pace and he can bend on the sting and he is received such flexibility to bend. After I had an opportunity to get right here, he was one of many first folks I needed to get into contact with and we hit it off instantly. … He simply seems a lot completely different. He is larger, he is sooner and stronger than he is ever been.”
When the 2020 season ended, Gregory was a fixture at The Star, understanding with teammates. In earlier years, he let his weight drop within the offseason and had hassle regaining the mass and energy. Whereas listed at 6 toes 5 inches tall and 260 kilos, he seems thicker than he has previously.
Gregory has mentioned previously he appreciated loads of the dysfunction, which led to lots of his points. Now, he has realized “self-love,” and is happy with himself. Gregory told ESPN in December he had gone by intensive counseling and credited psychologist Dina Hijazi for her assist in coping with anxiousness points.
“I do not like chaos. I wish to hold to myself,” he mentioned. “I understand that [in the] previous I had loads of chaotic folks in round me and it created this mindset that if there wasn’t any chaos I’d create my very own chaos. I wanted to feed off one thing. I wanted one thing to get me out of that psychological state that I used to be in. And now it is not a lot like that. My life is much more easy.”
It is about soccer, his two kids and his future.
Gregory is ready to be an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Cowboys stood by him when different groups may need parted methods with a participant. They signed him to a one-year extension upon his return final yr that included a $200,000 signing bonus.
“I ought to have already had a brand new contract,” Gregory mentioned. “I used to be nonetheless on my rookie contract final yr. That’s sort of loopy to consider. I perceive it is a contract yr. It is all about incomes all the pieces now. I’ll do it on the sphere. Barring damage, I feel I will probably be all proper. I like it right here. I like the house owners. I like workers. I like the gamers. When that point comes we’ll speak about it, however the place I got here from I’m not fascinated by a rattling contract proper earlier than the season begins.
“I nonetheless received quite a bit to do.”