It’s hard to get a job in the NFL with a troubling background unless, of course, you try out for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) has hired players like wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) and running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) even though each had run-ins with the law. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins and Gus Ruelas)

There’s a long list of players that Dallas has featured on its team over the years that suggests the Cowboys are the kings of gambling on players with checkered pasts.  

From Greg Hardy to Randy Gregory, Joseph Randle to current stars like Ezekiel Elliot and Dez Bryant, each had run-ins with the law yet was given the chance to play with the Cowboys. 

And, it all starts with owner Jerry Jones, who has made it well known he’s willing to hire anyone he believes will make plays to help him wins games. 

“The risk is worth the potential reward,” Jones told reporters, recently. “We’ve had some serious success with guys who have worked through some things.”

He’s not lying there. Jones won three Super Bowls with Hall of Fame players like Michael Irvin, Charles Haley, Nate Newton and Leon Lett, and each player got in trouble with the law.  Irvin had cocaine addiction issues, Haley suffered from bi-polar disorder that got him into trouble on and off the field , Lett had substance abuse problems and Newton ended up facing drug trafficking charges. To Jones, they were all worth keeping—so long as they delivered success on the field.

But there’s also a list of troubled players Jones gambled on who didn’t pay off. Both Hardy and Gregory certainly didn’t pan out. Hardy, who faced domestic violence charges, lasted just one season in Dallas, and so did Gregory, who’s suspended indefinitely by the NFL for failing multiple drug tests.

Dez Bryant has managed to stay afloat as one of the premier receivers in the league after a misdemeanor assault charge involving his own mother early in his career, but the jury is still out on Ezekiel Elliott, who was accused of sexual assault in 2016. Elliot faces no legal charges involving those accusations but can still face suspension from the league for conduct detrimental to the NFL’s image. 

According to reports, Elliot will learn soon if he will be suspended for any games in the upcoming season. Some reports say he could miss two to six games in suspension. 

It’s still uncertain how many games, if any, Elliot may miss. But one thing is certain: he’ll be back in a Cowboys uniform as soon as he’s eligible. For Jerry, he’s worth the risk. 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor