Randy Gregory’s mental health is more important than his Dallas Cowboys career.
Randy Gregory‘s NFL career got off to a rocky start when he failed a drug test at the 2015 NFL Combine. The Dallas Cowboys took a risk and drafted him in the second round of the NFL Draft anyway, taking Gregory at No. 60 overall. Since entering the NFL, Gregory has failed a total of three drug tests, all for THC, and was suspended indefinitely in 2019.
Some people believe this is because Gregory prioritizes smoking marijuana over his football career. Gregory is not a pothead who’s “smoking his career away.” In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. People who have been diagnosed with clinical anxiety, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder shouldn’t be confused with recreational users.
Gregory was using THC to self-medicate his mental illness instead of legal opioids which are widely considered far more dangerous. He was putting his own well being before his football career, which makes a lot of sense. With the current changes in the new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement Gregory will be able to self-medicate and maintain his NFL career.
For more on how the league has changed its stance on mental illness, here is an excerpt from an article Patrik Walker wrote back in March:
The league has taken criticism in past years over its mishandling of mental illness. Roger Goodell has promised change would come in the form of more support and fewer punishments for those who use marijuana to cope. With the new collective bargaining agreement now in place, players like Gregory — who choose marijuana over the potential addiction that comes with Big Pharm prescriptions — can balance their mental health with playing football at the NFL level. Both the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to not only establish a Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee, but to vastly decriminalize marijuana in football and require a licensed team clinician be on-staff with every club, who must be a seven-year practitioner who falls under one of these three categories:
a) Board-certified psychiatrist
b) Doctoral level clinical or counseling psychologist
c) Professional counselor with a master’s degree in counseling or social work
The NFL had ignored the mental well-being of its players for far too long. It is good to see the NFL finally progress in their thinking on the subject of their players’ mental health. There is more to NFL players than just their entertainment value. These men are human beings under their helmets and deserve to be respected as people, not just players.
In other great news, for Gregory, the NFL has decided to reinstate him. He is able to report to the Dallas Cowboys, but he won’t be able to play in a game until October. This is a major step forward for Gregory and the mental health of all players in the NFL.
Best of luck to Gregory going forward, in both his battle with his inner demons and his career in the NFL. It’s great to see No. 94 back in the building.