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Russell Wilson’s recruiting helped Randy Gregory pick the Broncos

DE Randy Gregory will reportedly move on to the Broncos after five seasons in Dallas because of a policy on fines that the Cowboys wouldn't compromise on.

The Broncos secured the services of defensive end Randy Gregory after a back-and-forth with the Cowboys. Another new arrival was instrumental in getting Gregory to pick Denver.

“It’s beneficial when I can text a franchise quarterback and that night, he calls a guy eight times,” G.M. George Paton told reporters on Friday regarding the efforts of Russell Wilson to recruit Gregory. “That’s pretty special, especially when it’s someone like Russell Wilson. He has a busy life and a big family. He’ll drop everything, whether he’s at a children’s hospital or with his family, to FaceTime with Randy Gregory. It’s pretty cool. I know he did so with D.J. [Jones] and some of the other guys we’ve talked to.”

The effort had an impact on Gregory.

“It’s big for me because my biggest thing is feeling wanted and having that support,” Gregory told reporters. “I don’t know if it was eight times, but he hit me up a lot. The first night I was afraid to answer back, there was a lot of uncertainty with everything going on. I woke up the next morning and the first text I saw was from him again. Then he sent me another one. I said you know what -- and mind you, he’s FaceTiming me throughout this whole entire process. Just having him there in the back of my mind really helped, and being able to sit down and talk to him on FaceTime. It’s funny, he was coming from the children’s hospital. There’s a certain image he has out in the public. It was funny, I was telling my parents, and I was telling my wife, I was like, ‘He’s literally what he is out in the public.’ He’s coming from a Children’s [Hospital], taking the time to call a guy that he’s trying to bring to the team. So talking to him and talking about the culture, talking about the guys, we talked about real estate, the areas to live in, things like that. Got to say hi to Ciara, his wife, so it was a real fun experience. It was really stressful [more] than I thought the experience was going to be in free agency. But the staff here from top to bottom, and then obviously Russell [Wilson], the way he handled it, made this whole process that much easier.”

It really did help seal the deal for Gregory in Denver.

“Russell Wilson was probably, if not the top reason, one of the top reasons why I was able to get out here,” Gregory said. “Just his ability to reach out and stay relentless, much like the front office did with me and my agent. I’m glad it worked out the way it did.”

It worked out in large part because the Cowboys insisted on contract language that would have jeopardized Gregory’s guaranteed money if he were merely fined under the substance-abuse policy. After all of the recruiting, Gregory gave the Cowboys a chance to remove the language to which Gregory objected. Still, it wouldn’t have even been close if Wilson hadn’t worked so persistently on Gregory.