ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — To cap what he called a “crazy, crazy week,” defensive end Randy Gregory was formally introduced by the Denver Broncos Friday after he signed his five-year, $70 million deal.
Gregory’s highly-publicized flip from a return to the Dallas Cowboys the team announced on its social media accounts earlier this week to signing with the Broncos was in the details of portions of the contract as well as some intense recruitment from Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson.
“It’s been a real crazy week,” Gregory said. ” … It’s been crazy … but it’s been worth the wait. My family is happy. I believe the Broncos are happy. I’m happy.”
Gregory said Friday he didn’t want to delve into the specifics of the differences in the contract language between the deal that was offered by the Cowboys and the one he signed with the Broncos. Multiple sources have traced some of the differences to a forfeiture clause in the deal in Dallas that would force Gregory to surrender money if he was fined or suspended.
Many teams have such clauses for if players are suspended, but not fined. The Cowboys have made this clause in particular a standard part of the team’s contracts with all of its players except quarterback Dak Prescott.
“We thought he was going to the Cowboys, you win some, you lose some, we thought we lost him,” Broncos general manager George Paton said. “Woke up in the morning and felt a lot better … you just roll with the punches and you don’t over-react.”
Gregory said the Broncos asked him tough questions about his past and that he tried to provide honest answers. The 29-year-old has been suspended 54 games in his career for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Due to those suspensions as well as a variety of injuries, Gregory has never started more than 11 games in a season and never finished with more than six sacks.
“They asked all the right questions,” Gregory said. ” … I really felt like the couple conversations went really well and think they felt safe with what’s needed for me to succeed and where they can accommodate me. I think everyone felt really comfortable with my answers, I hope.”
Wilson also did his part as Gregory said Wilson called him “like eight times” when the negotiating period for free agents opened Monday.
“He hit me up a lot,” Gregory said. “That first night I was afraid to answer back, [there was] a lot of uncertainty with everything going on, and I woke up the next morning that first text was from him again. Then he sent me another one, and mind you he was FaceTiming me throughout this whole entire process, just having him there in the back of my mind.”
Gregory said at one point Wilson used FaceTime as Wilson was leaving a visit to Children’s Hospital.
“He was coming from the Children’s Hospital … taking the time to calling a guy he’s trying to bring to the team,” Gregory said. ” … I got to say hi to his wife Ciara, it was a fun experience.”