Randy Gregory walked into his press conference Friday after the Cowboys made him the 60th overall pick in the NFL draft.
"Are you aware that approximately 17 minutes ago you were the No. 2 Twitter trend in the world?" a reporter asked before Gregory could even sit down.
"In the world?" Gregory responded.
"Not kidding you, in the world."
"That's nice," Gregory said. "I think I've been on Twitter, probably trending a lot lately. I'm glad it's for something good now. What better team to be with than the Dallas Cowboys?"
It was just a month ago Gregory revealed he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine in February (one of multiple failed tests in his collegiate career). The outside linebacker/defensive end said it is a drug he has used to relieve anxiety in the past, but acknowledged he was wrong to have had it in his system at the combine.
"I made a real dumb decision," Gregory said. "It's probably been the most embarrassing art of my life up to this point and I'm ready to fix it. The best way I now how to do that is go out there on the football field and make plays and carry myself the way I was brought up by my parents."
Gregory's support system has pushed him to mature in recent months. He calls his father, Kenneth, a former linebacker and defensive lineman at Northwestern in the early 1980s, "a great guy" who he models himself after. But he calls his mother, Mary, the stricter parent.
"She's tough love," he said. "Me and her, we've butted heads a lot throughout this whole process."
Gregory entered the draft at No. 18 in Scouts Inc.'s Top 32. He barely clawed his way into the second round.
Along with the marijuana test, Gregory has admitted to missing draft and meetings. Reports suggest Gregory's mental state is a potential flaw in his pro game. The off-the-field problems overshadowed some of Gregory's accomplishments at Nebraska, such as his 17.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss in 24 career games.
"Oh, I know it did," he says of his mistakes knocking him down draft boards. "I know for a fact it hurt me with a few teams. Like I said, the main thing is I knew I was going to get picked. I knew I was. I just didn't know when. For me, it was really about the team I was getting picked by, the staff, whether I work well with them, whether they work well with me, and Dallas is one of those teams I really felt like we connected."
Enter Jerry Jones. Perhaps seeing an opportunity to steal top talent in a later round, Jones took the time to understand Gregory's situation based on his anxiety and marijuana use.
"I sat down with Jerry Jones, and we had a heart-to-heart," Gregory said. "We talked for about 40 minutes. I think we were on the same page. I met with Coach [Jason] Garrett, Coach [Rod] Marinelli, and I think we've got a good idea of what we need to do."
Gregory has also spent time with former NFL head coach Herman Edwards about his maturity.
Seeing Jones deal with the behavioral problems of Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant is also encouraging for Gregory.
"He's probably the perfect guy for that," Gregory says. Gregory and Jones had their 40-minute discussion during a top-30 visit a couple weeks prior to the draft. "We talked about working together. I'm sure him and Dez have obviously talked before and they have a great relationship and that's why you see some of the success that he has with the team and I expect the same and I think they expect the same."
Gregory expressed relief at the press conference, after being the last prospect in the green room. TV cameras were glued to Gregory during the second round.
Missouri defensive lineman Shane Ray received a citation for marijuana earlier this week, which pushed him down below his projection, but he still went in the first round to Denver at No. 23 overall.
"I think Shane is kind of like me," Gregory said. He made a bad choice."
On Thursday, Ray said he hoped to prove every team that passed on his wrong. Gregory has a similar attitude, but after building an early relationship with Jones, Garrett and Marinelli, Gregory feels like it's not just him against everyone else.
"[I'm] somebody that's going to prove a lot of people wrong, basically 31 other teams wrong," he says. "And a lot of other people are looking at me and doubting me, us and the Cowboys. We are going to prove those doubters are. We really are."
Gregory had rooms for laughs on Friday. When asked how he will deal with the stresses of the NFL without marijuana, he chuckled.
"Hopefully this whole ride, being in the NFL, will be fun enough so I won't have to go down that road and there won't be anxiety," Gregory said. "I understand every day everyone deals with anxiety."
For the most part though, Gregory was serious Friday. Like Ray a day earlier, it is Gregory's time to mature. He made a mistake, but he made it early. Gregory is on an NFL roster and has a whole career to find his maturity.
"I did a lot of self-talk," he said. "I didn't get any sleep last night and I try not to be emotional up here, but this really hit me hard, hit my family hard. I'm trying to turn it into a positive."
One thing is for certain. If Gregory can produce on the field and stay out of trouble for the Cowboys, the fans in Dallas will embrace him. And with Greg Hardy already suspended for the first 10 games of the regular season due to domestic abuse charges, Gregory made get his chance on the field, on the Cowboys' edge, right away.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.