The NFL and NFLPA were able to come to terms on a settlement for running back Le’Veon Bell’s two suspensions, but not for defensive end Randy Gregory
There’s no doubt that the selection of Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft looks terrible right now. The pass rushing specialist has now amassed one quarterback sack and three suspensions. His latest ban will be putting him away from the Dallas Cowboys completely for at least one calendar year.
After missing 14 games due to two separate suspensions, Gregory was allowed to come back for a two-game spell for Dallas. That was before the league swooped in and said no to him playing in the playoffs. It was a weird situation all along, from the reported failed tests, to Gregory heading to rehab this offseason, to the missed tests and now the final ruling of being gone at least one year.
What’s even more puzzling is why the league was so harsh on Gregory and why the NFLPA didn’t fight hard enough to get him on the field after missing 14 games. While most will say he deserves it, then so too did Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell.
Bell was arrested for marijuana possession and a DUI before the 2015 season. He was subsequently suspended four games, but somehow got that reduced to two thanks to a plea dea between the NFL and NFLPA.
The talented running back thanked the NFLPA for their help by going out and still smoking. He then missed a test (reportedly due to knowing he would fail) and was again suspended four games. His second suspension wasn’t the normal 10 a player (like Gregory) receives for a second offense because of the agreement between the league and players reps.
So again, Bell and the NFLPA got to work on this four-game ban, and most knew he would get some favor. Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith was one of the people talking about how the running back has had success while Bell was appealing his second-straight season opening suspension.
Bell has had limited success appealing a suspension once before: He was initially suspended for the first three games of last season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy after he was arrested for marijuana possession and DUI, but he appealed and got that suspension reduced to two games.
Of course, the league allowed Bell to miss just three games. The kicker, though, is that he also is still in the initial stages of the program thanks to his second-straight settlement. Moreover, he will only be suspended four games when he misses his next drug test (which as history shows could be before the 2017 season).
Yet for defensive players like Gregory, there was never such a positive vibe. There was never any talk of a settlement and there was never nay chance the league would bend. Instead of the success stories flying around the internet there was a sense of doom for Dallas fans, as the headlines were bad like this one via All 22.com‘s Sean Shapiro where Dallas Cowboys insider Brandon George says there is no excuse for missing a drug test in the eyes of the NFL:
It’s unlikely for him to win an appeal. Most players always lose these kind of appeals because the bottom line is: He missed a drug test in November. There’s really no good excuse for missing a drug test, so it’s going to be hard for him to win this appeal.
While George is right, the fact is this was only true for one of the two players who were suspended this season. Bell, who even was arrested while driving drunk and having pot, has been suspended for a total of five games. Gregory has been sat down for 14 and can’t even ask the league to return until January 2018.
Gregory is being called a lost cause and a waste, whereas Bell is being praised as a potential MVP if not just for those missed test hiccups. In the end the handling of the two players by the NFL and NFLPA is appalling. This is in no way saying Gregory should have been off the hook, but the slap on the wrist for one player and the death sentence to another’s career makes no sense.