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'I got robbed of a year': Randy Gregory says Cowboys didn’t let him shine during 2020 season

7/21/2021 12:28:54 PM
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Randy Gregory missed the first six games of the 2020 season because of a suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

But that’s not why Gregory feels like last year was stolen from him, Selby Lopez of the Dallas Morning News reports.

In an interview with The Athletic, the Cowboys defensive end said he felt robbed in 2020 because of a lack of playing time allowed by former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and his staff.

“I felt there was a little bit of favoritism going on … refusing to let me outshine their favorite,” Gregory told The Athletic. “They knew I could do it, so they did what they could to keep me at bay. I had my times when I was angry. I used to talk to Peter [Schaffer] about it, and the best thing I could do was just go out there on the field with the plays they give me and make those plays worth it. I did that, but I truly felt I got robbed of a year last year.”

Gregory was officially able to join the team after Week 6 last season, per the terms of his conditional reinstatement. He appeared in the final 10 games of the season, recording 21 tackles, 3.5 sacks, four tackles for a loss and 12 quarterback hits. He started none of those games. Most of the snaps that could have gone to Gregory went to former Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith, who started all 16 games last year.

After the Cowboys finished the season 6-10 and missed the playoffs for a second straight year — in large part because of a defense that allowed a franchise-record 473 points — Nolan was fired. The Cowboys hired former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn to replace him.

“This year, I think for me, is about really finding my role on this team,” Gregory said. “Not as somebody who’s here and then leaves for a certain amount of time. Somebody who’s here to stay and somebody that wants to be a leader, not only vocally but on the field with my play.

“I think that’s one of the biggest things for me that I’ve always struggled with is my leadership skills on and off the field, so this year, I’m trying to be a little bit more invested because I am one of the older guys in the group. I think me, [DeMarcus Lawrence] and [Brent Urban] are the three oldest guys in our D-line group. Naturally, I feel like guys are looking at me for input and advice or looking at me to make a play and show people how it’s done.”

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