The Dallas Cowboys continue to be a haven for troubled players. Perhaps the success of Dez Bryant has emboldened Jerry Jones to take even more risks on players with checkered pasts.
Cowboys executive VP and director of player personnel Stephen Jones joined "The Afternoon Show with Cowlishaw & Mosley" on Wednesday to discuss the team’s decision to select Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory in the second round. The interview took place before the Cowboys were connected to LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins, a first-round talent who went undrafted because of concern over his link to a woman and her child who were killed last month in Baton Rouge. Police continue to say that Collins isn’t a suspect, but the investigation caused teams to steer clear of him in the draft.
The Joneses have never been afraid to take risks (Randy Moss was an exception), but at some point you have to wonder how many troubled players one locker room can hold. On Wednesday, Stephen provided more insight on why the Cowboys felt Gregory was worth the risk.
"Believe me, we certainly have our eyes wide open on this one. We know there’s a lot of work to be done," Jones said. "We feel like organizationally, we have the infrastructure in place that we can help him become a better person off the field and ultimately be the type of well-rounded man you want in your organization. I think he could really have success with the Cowboys organization both on and off the field. He seems committed to doing it and we’re certainly committed to helping him."
The Cowboys believe landing possibly the best pass-rusher in the draft No. 60 overall was quite a coup. I was a bit surprised because Jerry is normally scared to select players with known marijuana issues. But the Cowboys (and Gregory) don’t seem to believe that will be the main challenge for the player. There have been reports that Gregory has struggled with bipolar disorder. He admitted recently that he has "anxieties." The Cowboys have not shied away from players with these types of challenges over the years. They are uniquely prepared to support these players.
I asked Stephen if the Cowboys would follow a plan with Gregory similar to what they used with Bryant.
"Every individual is different," he said. "He’s coming in at the end of the week. We’ll certainly sit down with him and begin the process of seeing what would be the best situation for him. We’ll work through it. Something he’ll be really comfortable with and something we’ll be comfortable with, that he can have success. I really do think that we can get something really good worked out."
As long as a player has a unique skillset, the Cowboys will do just about anything to help him stay on the field. They believe the potential reward nearly always outweighs the risk involved.