The months before hiring season are nervous times for many college students. Getting hired at a dream job or internship can sometimes come with the caveat of the pre-offer drug test—a nightmare scenario for pot-happy kids. Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, a projected Top 10 pick in next month's NFL Draft, faced that challenge, and failed it last month.
"I blame myself. And I know it sounds cliché, but there's really no one else I can blame," he said. Although now he says he's in a "great spot," Gregory reflected on his marijuana usage.
"I don't wake up every day saying, I'd really love to go smoke," he said. "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. Now, I'm focused on my dream."
After failing to qualify for college academically out of high school (a spot on Purdue's football team had awaited him), Gregory says he turned to smoking to relieve anxiety. He spent time at a community college before making the leap to Nebraska, but once on a big-time college campus, he didn't stop smoking.
Gregory had previously failed two drug tests for pot at Nebraska, and after he was warned that he'd be kicked off the team for a third, he stopped. Gregory still admits to having high THC levels after smoking in December (once his season ended), which lead to the failed Combine test.
"I want people to understand I'm not some dumb jock pothead. I'm not," he added. "I'm intelligent. I love the people who help me, I love my family, I love my support group. I love football. I love winning. And I don't want to be labeled as some bust that couldn't make it because he smoked. And I won't be labeled as that."
With latest failed drug test, those qualms about Gregory's personal life have only seeped further into the discussion to potentially poison his draft stock. He combined for 25.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks during his final two seasons at Nebraska, giving him the level of talent and production that pegged him to be a top pick. All 29 teams that spoke to him at the Combine asked about his relationship with drugs, but Gregory's adamant that he's now clean and ready to play. Former NFL head coach Herm Edwards has agreed to mentor him.
"I want it on the record. I want people to understand I know I messed up. I'm owning up to it. I realize it. But at the same time, I'm taking the right steps to get better and to fix it."
NFL Draft kicks off five weeks from tonight...— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2015
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[via The Big Lead]