Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory was suspended for at least a year for another violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
It’s the third time this season Gregory has been suspended. The first was a four-game ban, followed by 10 games on top of that. The latest suspension makes him ineligible for the playoffs, which start Jan. 15 for Dallas, the top seed in the NFC.
The suspension is for one calendar year, meaning Gregory could be eligible for the playoffs without another violation if the Cowboys make it again next season. Gregory can apply for reinstatement to Commissioner Roger Goodell 60 days before the anniversary of the suspension.
Gregory played the final two games of his second regular season, recording the first sack of his career in the finale against Philadelphia.
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The 24-year-old former Nebraska standout slid to the second round of the 2015 draft over off-field concerns that included a positive test for marijuana at the NFL combine.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said he intends to support Gregory, but the latest ban raises doubt as to whether he will be on the Dallas roster when he is eligible to return. He only has one full season remaining in 2018 under his four-year rookie contract, and it won’t cost the Cowboys much to cut him.
Gregory was considered one of the best pass rushers in his draft, and the Cowboys were comfortable with the gamble late in the second round.
There was promise early with a strong rookie training camp and vows from Gregory that he wanted to make good on his word to Jones that he could control his issues with marijuana. But he only made it through one season, and didn’t have a sack while missing four games with an ankle injury.
The first suspension was announced last February, and he was away from the team during training camp while in rehab. The second suspension was announced in September, but Gregory remained with the team while serving the 14-game ban.
Under the latest suspension, Gregory can’t participate in club activities and is banned from team facilities except for sessions with the person in charge of his treatment.