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Randy Gregory called it a “day of celebration and thanks.”
Five hundred and fifty-six days after the NFL last suspended him indefinitely for violation of its substance-abuse policy, the Dallas Cowboys defensive end has been reinstated by the NFL.
The league notified Gregory on Friday.
Monday, he’s eligible to report to the team for COVID-19 testing followed by a football acclimation period.
“I am in a good place and plan to use this second chance to be a great father, player, citizen of Dallas and teammate,” Gregory tweeted in a statement. “Let’s get this!!!”
Gregory’s most recent suspension was his fourth since he was selected by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2015 draft.
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COVID-19 complicated an already-long return as Gregory worked to prove he was clean and rehabilitated to the league’s preference. He met with commissioner Roger Goodell virtually in May, his agent Peter Schaffer told USA TODAY Sports. After another meeting with the league last week, Schaffer said, Gregory was reinstated nine days before the Cowboys’ season opener.
Gregory rejoins a pass rush that includes talented defenders in DeMarcus Lawrence, Everson Griffen and Aldon Smith.
Gregory has worked out on his own but will be subject to an acclimation period after his three negative COVID-19 tests. He’ll be able to participate in conditioning activities, individual workouts and meetings through September. On Oct. 5, he can practice with his Cowboys teammates fully.
After the Cowboys’ Oct. 19 Week 6 contest against the Cardinals, Gregory will be eligible to play in games — beginning, should the team decide, with a trip to Washington scheduled for Oct. 25.
Schaffer described the reinstatement as “the culmination of everything Randy’s been able to do changing his life positively for the last year.”
“The thing I’m most happy about,” Schaffer told USA TODAY Sports by phone Friday evening, “is that starting on Monday, other people will be able to see what a great place Randy’s in.”
Gregory, who thanked the league, his representation, the Cowboys and his psychologist in his statement, said he’s in a “positive” place.
“It’s go time,” Gregory added.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein
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