FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory is facing a longer suspension over another violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, and owner Jerry Jones says he doesn’t expect to see the troubled player at training camp in California.
With Gregory already suspended for the first four games this season, Jones said Wednesday that the Cowboys haven’t heard from the league about a possible 10-game ban for another failed drug test.
A day after reports that Gregory was in rehab, Jones acknowledged that the former Nebraska standout was undergoing treatment.
"It’s very disappointing," Jones told reporters during an event at the team’s new headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Frisco.
"But it does point out the difficulty you have with addiction. And there is no question he needs the kind of help and care he is getting right now."
Considered one of the best pass rushers in the 2015 draft, Gregory slid to the Cowboys at the end of the second round after he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine. His first suspension was announced in February.
Gregory played 12 games without a sack as a rookie, missing four games early in the season with a sprained right ankle. He participated in all the offseason workouts despite the suspension, and would still be eligible to participate in camp and preseason games even with a 10-game suspension.
But Jones essentially said football wasn’t Gregory’s top priority at the moment. The Cowboys fly to California on Thursday, and the first camp practice is Saturday.
"We are first and foremost interested in how he can basically address his addiction and get to where he can function in society first and then look to be a football player second," said Jones, who also said the Cowboys had already decided they couldn’t count on Gregory in 2016.
Gregory has been listed as a starter alongside third-year player DeMarcus Lawrence, another young defensive end serving a four-game suspension to start the season for a substance-abuse violation. Linebacker Rolando McClain is banned for 10 games for the same reason.
Jones said he hasn’t given up on Gregory, or on the idea of taking risks in the draft.
"It’s an individual thing, individual treatment," Jones said. "We have got some good cases that have rewarded us. That is just part of it."
Jones said he expects Ezekiel Elliott to report for training camp a week after the rookie running back denied allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend, causing bruises and abrasions.
Elliott wasn’t arrested or charged. The fourth overall pick out of Ohio State told police in Columbus, Ohio, that the woman was injured in a bar fight. Witnesses told police they didn’t see Elliott assault the woman.
A day after coach Jason Garrett said McClain would be at camp, executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones said that issue was a "work in progress."