His lawyer, Daniel Moskowitz, had been on his case to check into a rehab clinic in Southern California. Moskowitz booked flights, but Gregory resisted. Moskowitz tried the good cop route first, sending texts saying encouraging things like, “You’re better than this, Randy.” But eventually, the words devolved to, “You’re f—ing going!”
Moskowitz watched from a distance when the men in the dark SUVs came for Gregory. Moskowitz will not say who they were. “I made an extreme call,” he says, “and the cavalry came.”
That key passage from ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill – part of a scintillating, long-form account of the in-process journey of Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory from outcast to key figure in the NFL’s best defense – says it all.
Gregory, a second-round draft pick and player who has still been suspended more games than he has played, needed saving. He was at rock bottom according to Merrill’s story, suspended, high all of the time and utterly along. Cut off from the team, by virtue of the NFL’s nonsensical policy where a banned player cannot be in contact with a billion-dollar organization that has the resources to help, Gregory didn’t know the direction his career, or life, was headed.
That’s when his lawyer said enough was enough, and orchestrated a well-intentioned kidnapping of sorts which led to Gregory’s time in a California rehab facility.
Merrill’s account goes into telling, intricate detail of a childhood of anxiety and panic attacks, as early as the age of 8 or 9. How that led to him smoking weed as a teenager.
The article details how he decided he was going to quit smoking before attending JuCo, before he learned the difficulty of fitting in where he “was too proper for the black kids and too black for the white kids,” a common integration problem for so many Black youth who lived in between the two vastly different societies.
Merrill goes on to detail his transfer to Nebraska and how his talent popped and made him a high-pedigree draft target, before the failed drug test and poor interviews at the scouting combine sent him in a draft free fall.
“You could tell he’s a big marijuana guy,” says one NFL decision-maker who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “He couldn’t stay focused. His eyes were everywhere. And I felt bad for him. … But I would not draft the guy…