Randy Gregory participates in individual drills for the first time since 2016

AP

It’s been awhile for Randy Gregory.

The Cowboys defensive end participated in individual drills for the first time since 2016.

Greogry hasn’t played since the 2016 regular-season finale, missing last season while serving his suspension for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

The NFL reinstated Gregory before training camp began, but the Cowboys took a deliberate approach in his return to the field. Gregory spent the first week working on his conditioning before taking part in the walk-throughs last week.

He will have to work his way into team drills before taking part in a preseason game, with the Cowboys ruling him out of Saturday’s game at AT&T Stadium against the Bengals.

“He has been here for a few weeks now,’‘ Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He has worked very hard with our trainers and our strength guys on the side. He worked with coaches on the side. We felt this was our next step.

“He has a good condition base. He has good base of football movement. That is what we were trying to do with him on the side. You don’t want to say, ‘run straight, run straight, run straight,’ then go play football. We have been trying to acclimate him to the metabolic work and the football movement to get him closer.”

Gregory, a former second-round pick, has 20 tackles and one sack in the 14 games he has played.