(SportsNetwork.com) - There is no truth to the rumor that the Dallas Cowboys plan to replace their iconic star with a red flag but Jerry Jones sure doesn't mind taking a chance or two.
Jones added to his island of miscreant toys on Friday by selecting the ultimate risk/reward prospect in the 2015 draft, Nebraska pass rusher Randy Gregory.
Of course the Cowboys' general manager has a far longer rope than the average NFL personnel guy because Jones' boss looks at him in the mirror every morning and my educated guess is that Jerry doesn't plan on firing himself any time soon.
And that kind of job security breeds the ability to take a chance now and again, something Jones did earlier this offseason by signing one of the league's top pariahs, former Carolina star and noted domestic abuser Greg Hardy.
Gregory, a top-five level talent, tumbled down the draft board until Jones' halted his freefall by taking the explosive edge defender with the 60th overall pick.
"I didn't sleep (Thursday) night because I feel like I let my family and the people who believe in me down," Gregory told YAHOO Sports before Day 2 began, "and I'm sorry for that. But I'm going to use this as fuel.
"The franchise that drafts me won't have to worry about me off the field, but the teams that didn't select me will have to worry about me on the field."
If that boast proves to be true Gregory at No. 60 is the very definition of value but it's far from a guarantee Gregory will be able to stay on the field in North Texas due to some significant off-the-field concerns with the lanky QB hunter.
Gregory's flaws started to unveil themselves at the NFL's Scouting Combine in February when he tested positive for marijuana despite being aware he would be checked for the drug in Indianapolis.
"I blame myself," Gregory told NFL.com when unveiling his positive test. "And I know it sounds cliche, but there's really no one else I can blame."
For most, it's not that Gregory smokes pot, although admittedly every team would prefer a Boy Scout who has the Nebraska product's pass-rushing potential, it's the fact that he failed a test he knew was coming.
At best that indicates immaturity and at worst, an inability to stop using the stuff even when millions of dollars were on the line. No matter how you frame it, though, it was a red flag for even the most progressive of thinkers.
So instead of dreaming of the top 10 and the paycheck that comes along with that status Gregory was stuck in spin mode, embarking on a scandal-management tour in an effort to explain away his vice.
Gregory copped to an extensive history with the drug claiming his positive test at the combine was the result of high levels in his system despite abstaining since December.
A quick check of the medical literature says THC can indeed stay in one's system that long but only in chronic users. The length of estimated detection time in occasional users is only about four days and perhaps 10 for frequent users. For traces of the drug to stay in Gregory's body from December until February means he was a cross between Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson.
Yet Gregory also claimed he was "late to the party", saying he only began smoking marijuana after graduating from high school.
And that's a tale that's tough to believe for anyone who has a teenager these days and even tougher to accept in Gregory's specific case because that means he went from zero to addicted in record time despite using a drug apologists say isn't all that addictive.
"I don't wake up every day saying, I'd really love to go smoke," Gregory claimed. "It's not a struggle for me every day (now), it really isn't. In the past, hell yeah, it's been a struggle. It really has been."
Gregory's faux pas in Indy was only amplified by two other positives while he was with the Cornhuskers.
"I was worse at Nebraska than I've ever been at any other time of my life," he continued. "But I know how I am now. I think if teams really look at how I am now more so than the past, they'll see I'm making strides to get better, as a person and as a player."
"They" didn't see, though, because Gregory was often late to pre-draft interviews and at least two organizations claimed he failed to pay attention in what were essentially the biggest job interviews of his life.
Concerns over Gregory's ability to handle the "mental rigors" of professional football were reported by NFL.com and he ended up as the last player invited to Chicago to leave the green room.
"It was worth the wait," Gregory told NFL Network's Melissa Stark after finally being chosen. "I'm just happy to be a Dallas Cowboy. ... We're going to do big things."
The ultimate risk then alluded to the ultimate reward.
"Super Bowl," Gregory said while walking away.
Other GMs just couldn't afford to risk their future employment prospects on an unreliable kid who just happens to rush the passer better than anyone else in this draft.
Jones embraced it.