One of the Denver Broncos’ largest offseason transactions has been their signing of former Dallas Cowboy Randy Gregory.

Broncos Country might be familiar with the name, but unfortunately, it’s probably not for his dominant 2021 season. Gregory has been making headlines since before his NFL career had even started, as he struggled with marijuana usage throughout the early stages of his career.

In fact, Gregory has been suspended for more games than he’s played in.

But if there’s one thing Broncos fans should have taken from Gregory’s introductory press conference, it was that he’s done a lot of growing and that he believes he’s changed a lot since making those mistakes.

I have a well-documented history, publicly,” Gregory said during his press conference. “I think for me, I have a lot of time here for the fanbase, the staff, to really get to know me and understand me. I think the public perception isn’t always correct with me. I’ve done a lot of growing up over the last few years. [I’m] a lot different player and person now as opposed to when I came in as a rookie. I truly believe [general manager George] Paton and the rest of the staff, did their due diligence as far as really getting to know me behind the scenes, figuring out my growth and the timeline, things like that, talking around the league and talking around with my former team. I think they felt really confident in that. With time, I really think that I’d be able to grow on the fanbase here and they’d get to understand my story and where I came from and how I am the way I am now.”

That plea for this new fanbase to dissolve their preconceived notions of Gregory was a consistent theme throughout the player’s first meeting with the Denver media.

It should also be noted that his plea is justified. Gregory wouldn’t have had multiple teams lobbying to pay him over $10 million per year if he hadn’t made these enormous leaps in his personal growth. Until fairly recently, receiving a contract like this would have felt like an incredible long shot.

“[Getting to this point] is a big deal to me,” Gregory told the media. “There was a point in time where I didn’t think I’d be here, there were points in time I didn’t think I’d be able to get back in the league and play at the level I’m playing at now. I think that speaks volumes [about] my effort to better myself—not only on the field but as a person. I’m a real firm believer in those things going hand-in-hand, and when I have all my obligations and things taken care of in my personal life, I tend to do better on the field. It’s a big deal.”

Along with a shot at a second chance, something that’s important to Gregory was how Denver made him feel respected in a meaningful way.

“From the point we were able to have discussions here in the free agency, Denver has been relentless,” Gregory said. “Even Russell Wilson, he called me probably eight times that first night and even that morning. Having that, I really felt that not only felt like they needed me here but wanted me here. I really wanted to go somewhere where I was valued and wanted. I had a strong connection, not only with the culture there and the guys there, but really the front office and the whole organization. That’s been big for me as far as my success is feeling like I’m comfortable, wanted and valued in my personal and professional space.”

It’s great to hear that the Broncos’ new face-of-the-franchise, Wilson, is already pulling out all the stops to help the team land its free-agent targets.

That said, it wasn’t all just about appealing to Gregory. Gregory also had to make himself appealing to the Broncos by demonstrating his growth and why he would be a good fit for Denver’s pass-rush need.

“They asked all the right questions. My agent told [General Manager George] Paton, ‘You can ask any question you want; everything is fair game. Randy will be as honest with you as he can be. I really felt like the couple conversations we’ve had went really well. I think they feel safe with what’s needed for me to succeed, where they can accommodate me and things like that. I think everyone felt really comfortable with my answers, I hope. We’ll get to know each other even more. My story is really, really well documented. You can honestly just go online and read about it. But for the staff here, the players here, the fanbase, even you guys, will ask to at least give me a chance to show you my real self and not just something online. Really get to know me as a person and as a player.”

Broncos Country should have more than enough time to get to know Gregory over the next five seasons.