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Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Fully Cleared and Reinstated by the NFL

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has been fully reinstated to practice and play in games, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Gregory, who hasn’t played since the 2016 season finale because of an indefinite suspension due to repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, was reinstated on a conditional basis last week.

He was cleared only for meetings and conditioning work. He was not going to be cleared to practice or play in games until “arrangements have been confirmed regarding Gregory’s clinical resources in Dallas, and subject to continued compliance with the terms of his reinstatement and all aspects of the NFL-NFLPA Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse,” the NFL stated in its initial release.

Dallas Cowboys 2018 Training Camp Capsule

OPEN CAMP: July 26, Oxnard, California

LAST YEAR: Cowboys missed playoffs year after dynamic rookie tandem of QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott fueled Dallas to NFC-best 13 wins. Elliott’s six-game suspension during season over domestic violence allegations was big reason. Prescott’s performance dipped after winning NFL Offensive Rookie of Year in 2016. Offensive line was less consistent than usual. Defense was solid but not spectacular.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: LB Leighton Vander Esch, WR Allen Hurns, G Connor Williams, WR Tavon Austin, WR Michael Gallup, TE Dalton Schultz, T Cameron Fleming, secondary coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: TE Jason Witten, WR Dez Bryant, LB Anthony Hitchens, CB Orlando Scandrick.

CAMP NEEDS: Cowboys need to sort out jumbled picture at receiver and tight end after dumping Bryant in cost-cutting move and somewhat surprising retirement of Witten, who went into broadcasting. WR Terrance Williams broke foot and was arrested during tumultuous offseason when Cowboys needed to know if he could take Bryant’s place atop receiving depth chart. Barring unexpected resurgence from six-year veteran, replacing Bryant will fall to Hurns and collection of rookies, other young players. Geoff Swaim likely to get first crack at replacing Witten, but Dallas likes Blake Jarwin. LB Jaylon Smith needs to show explosiveness in second season since recovery from major knee injury in college. Sean Lee needs to stay healthy. Without those developments, heavy responsibility could fall on Vander Esch as rookie.

EXPECTATIONS: Coach Jason Garrett has two playoff appearances and one postseason win in seven full seasons. Elliott saga and untimely injuries, particularly to offensive line, gave him pass last season. Hard to imagine owner Jerry Jones sticking with him if Cowboys miss playoffs again, particularly after offseason overhaul of coaching staff. Healthy and eligible Elliott figures to be factor in NFL rushing race after leading league as rookie two years ago. Elliott still led league in yards rushing per game during suspension-marred season. Prescott wasn’t as good at protecting ball year after rookie record for passer rating. Cowboys want him to feed off Elliott-powered running game. Dallas believes young talent in secondary can help defense make difference. Cowboys could use repeat from DeMarcus Lawrence, who finished second in NFL with 14½ sacks last season and will play on franchise tag. Lawrence needs help, and prime candidate would be Taco Charlton, last year’s first-round pick.

Attorney for Cowboys CB Marquez White Feels Charges Will Be Dropped

Cowboys cornerback Marquez White is facing a second-degree felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to Collin County court records.

But his attorney, Dallas-based Toby Shook, is confident the charge will be dropped, Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

“Marquez did everything legally,” Shook said. “He displayed a gun but didn’t point it at this individual because he was very concerned with how this individual was making threats. I’m hopeful that this case can be dismissed, because I don’t think he violated the law.”

The Cowboys do not have a comment “at this time.” An NFL spokesman has yet to return a request for comment.

White made a court appearance last week, and the next date is scheduled for Aug. 10, the day after the Cowboys’ preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

Shook said the delay from when the incident happened, Oct.20, to the indictment, June 7, is unusual, but White had moved in that time and changed his number.

“There was a series in breakdown in communications,” Shook said. “He didn’t have notice that hearing was going on and was shocked to learn this warrant came out months later. It’s a bit unusual. It was an unfortunate series of miscommunication.”

Cowboys CB Marquez White Arrested In June and Charged with Second-Degree Felony Assault

Cowboys cornerback Marquez White was arrested on June 15 for second-degree felony assault with a deadly weapon in Collin County, Texas according to Jon Johnson of the Dothan Eagle.

White said the incident stems from a “road-rage” dust-up that occurred last October. White was allegedly heading home and exiting a tollway when another man tried to speed by him on the service road. White felt his “life was threatened,” then pulled a gun he legally owned. White was not arrested until June. A sixth-round pick out of Florida State in 2017, the 23-year-old spent his rookie season on the Cowboys’ practice squad and was re-signed to a reserve/future deal in January.

Cowboys Have Idea to Keep LB Sean Lee Healthy in 2018

The Cowboys have a plan to keep oft injured linebacker Sean Lee healthy this upcoming season which involves him missing workouts, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reports.

“I get the governor put on me and have to be smart this time of year,” Lee said. “It’s tough not being out there because you want to be out there trying to lead from the front, but there’s perspective that’s kept this time of year that we’ve got to build toward training camp and build towards the year.”

It’s not always easy for the Cowboys’ athletic trainers and strength and conditioning staff to convince Lee that this plan is best for him.

“It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ for me,” Lee said. “I kind of fight them and they put perspective on me and I listen to them.”

Lee, 31, missed five games because of a hamstring injury last season. The Cowboys defense has suffered significantly when the two-time Pro Bowler hasn’t been on the field. Dallas is 1-7 without Lee over the last three seasons.

Lee tore the ACL in his left knee during an OTA practice in 2014, causing him to miss the entire season.

“I’ve had an issue staying on the field,” Lee said. “Really, two years ago, I felt in ’15 and ’16, we did a good job staying on the field. Last year, I didn’t. So I think we have a great game plan to try to keep me out there.”

Third-Year Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Set to Return After Concussion

Third-year Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has fully recovered from the concussion that cost him the entire 2017 season according to Todd Archer of ESPN.

Gathers suffered the concussion last summer and its effects were compounded by jaw and neck injuries. A star basketball player at Baylor, the Cowboys took a sixth-round flyer on Gathers in the 2016 and the coaching staff had been high on his potential prior to the concussion.

The 24-year-old has yet to appear in a regular season game in the NFL but t flashed big-time potential last preseason to the tune the mix to replace retired Jason Witten in an offense desperate for playmakers in the passing game. At the very least, his 6’6″, 285-pound frame should make him an enticing target in the redzone.

Cowboys Come to Terms with First-Round Pick Leighton Vander Esch

The Cowboys have signed first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch to a four-year contract worth $11.847 million guaranteed, Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas reports.

He will receive a signing bonus of $6.696 million. Only third round pick Michael Gallup is unsigned as the Cowboys get all their players inked with training camp about two months away.

Cowboys TE Jason Witten Announces Retirement to Join ESPN on MNF

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said ‘so long’ on Thursday, walking away after 15 seasons with the Cowboys to take a position with ESPN as part of the Monday Night Football crew.

Witten wrestled with the decision for the past week, alternating almost hourly between taking the job and playing a record 16th season for the Cowboys, sources said. He has informed owner and general manager Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett of his decision.

Sources said he leaned heavily on Jones in coming to a conclusion.

Witten, who turns 36 on Sunday, could not be reached for comment. On Wednesday, executive vice president Stephen Jones said there was no timeline on when Witten would make a decision.