At least since Jerry Jones took over in 1989, the Dallas Cowboys have always been a team willing to take on risk in the form of so-called problem children who happen to also be really, really talented football players, and that’s not going to change in the wake of recent developments involving Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory—two players who both fit in the above description, but for very, very different reasons.
Hardy, who was suspended 15 games in 2014 and four games in 2015 for a domestic violence incident in North Carolina, recorded six sacks for the Cowboys but still failed to live up to expectations. He reportedly wore out his welcome as the season progressed and he kept showing up late for meetings, and the Cowboys have sounded less than determined to bring him back since the season ended.
Gregory failed to record a sack in his rookie season, thanks in great part to a high ankle sprain suffered in the regular season opener—a game in which he had looked very good until the injury—and was suspended for the first four games of 2016 last week for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Of course, Gregory only ever slipped to the Cowboys in the second round because of a failed drug test at the Combine.
“What’s our history? You know our history,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told USA Today Sports. “We’ve had success, and we’ve had failure. Obviously, when things don’t work out, people wonder. But to think we’re going to have a new deal because of these two guys, I don’t think you change your basic philosophy.
“To say we won’t take chances is not the thinking. You’ve got to pick and choose when you do it.”