Buccaneers LB Randy Gregory reportedly sues NFL, Broncos over $500K in fines for THC use

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 19: Randy Gregory #5 of the Denver Broncos looks on from the sidelines against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Randy Gregory wants the NFL to change its marijuana policies again. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Randy Gregory reportedly wants to take the NFL and his former team, the Denver Broncos, to court over a half-million dollars in fines.

The pass rusher filed a lawsuit in Arapahoe County District Court on Wednesday claiming discrimination for being fined over a year-plus of taking medications, including THC, for disabilities, according to the Denver Post’s Parker Gabriel. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.

In the complaint, Gregory reportedly alleges he was fined a total of $532,500 for repeated positive THC tests since March 2023, though it doesn’t specify how many times he was fined or if all of those fines came with the Broncos. The NFL no longer suspends players for marijuana use, but it is still a banned substance and players are subject to fines if they test positive.

The Post also notes the Broncos would have played no role in the administration of the fines, which is under the purview of the NFL and enforced in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement between the league and NFL Players Association.

Gregory reportedly claims he was prescribed Dronabinol, which is synthetic THC, to help address social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Apparently, he sought permission to use it during non-work hours in March 2023, then applied for a therapeutic use exception that May. He was denied both times.

From the Post:

“This is a serious effort by Randy to push the NFL forward on alternative methods for pain management options,” Gregory’s agent, Peter Schaffer, told The Post. “If a doctor prescribes hydrocodone, that’s completely legal and much worse for the player, yet the player doesn’t get suspended or fined. Randy’s not trying to buck the system, but he’s paying $500,000 in fines for something that anybody else in the state of Colorado can do. All we want is reasonable accommodation to allow Randy to treat his disabilities at the direction of his treating physician.”

The lawsuit reportedly claims that Gregory was denied a reasonable accommodation for his diagnosed disabilities, which it says is discriminatory under Colorado law.

Banned substance use has been a career-threatening issue for Gregory in the past, as he missed much of the 2016 season, the entire 2017 season and the entire 2019 season due to a litany of failed drug tests.

There will probably be plenty of players and agents following this lawsuit from afar. The NFL has never been shy about fining its players small fortunes for the smallest of infractions, and this is one area where players aren’t going to be happy until they feel they don’t have to choose between their money and a lack of pain or mental stress.

Gregory’s lawsuit also comes after an unceremonious exit from the Broncos, who signed him to a five-year, $70 million contract in free agency in 2022. The signing was supposedly a coup for the Broncos, who nabbed Gregory after he was reported to have agreed to a deal to remain with the Dallas Cowboys, but it wound up being a disaster.

After 6.0 sacks in his final season with the Cowboys, Gregory recorded only 3.0 sacks in 10 games across two season with Denver. The team decided to part ways with him early last season and ate a total of $22.4 million in dead money in the process, initially deciding to release him before trading him to the San Francisco 49ers.

Gregory did little with the Niners and signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Bucs in April.

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