FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory will be available to play Sunday against the Washington Football Team now that he has been removed from the commissioner’s exempt list.
Gregory, who had been on the list since being reinstated by the NFL in September, has not played in a game since the 2018 divisional-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams because of an indefinite suspension. He has been able to work out and take part in meetings since reinstatement, and he began practicing two weeks ago.
His return comes at a good time for a pass rush that has struggled for most of the season, and last week, teammates and coaches said Gregory performed exceptionally well in practice. Gregory, the Cowboys’ 2015 second-round pick, had six sacks in 2018, which was second-best on the defense.
A number of violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy led to multiple suspensions for Gregory, who has played in just 28 of a potential 86 career games. Upon his reinstatement, the Cowboys signed him to a one-year extension through 2021 that included a $200,000 signing bonus.
The Cowboys waived defensive back Saivion Smith and intend to re-sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers. Wide receiver Ventell Bryant, who had been dealing with a knee injury, was waived off injured reserve.
Gregory’s return could help a defense that is on pace to allow a record 581 points. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch returned in Monday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals from a four-game absence because of a broken collarbone. Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) and linebacker Sean Lee (pelvis) are also eligible to return from injured reserve, but with a short work week to get ready to play Washington, they could be held out at least one more week.