The Dallas Cowboys' decision to cut 24-year-old running back Joseph Randle was one of the strangest stories of the 2015 NFL season.
Randle, the starter at running back, was having a lackluster season when some combination of personal affairs, injury, and insult caused him to disappear from the Cowboys' training facility when the Cowboys wanted to work out some issues with him.
Now, a startling report from Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News says that Randle's life had been unraveling and that he had been betting on sports during the 2015 season.
George says four sources told the Morning News that Randle had been placing wagers on sports events in 2015. Combined with increasing signs of mental instability, the Cowboys eventually decided to cut ties with Randle.
With the report comes a bizarre story in which Randle called the cops in October over fears that his girlfriend was in trouble. From George:
Randle phoned the Irving police department at 12:35 p.m. on Oct. 28. Department spokesman James McClellan said the running back asked that police go to his home to perform a welfare check on his then-girlfriend, Avina Rodriguez. Randle told police he had found her cellphone in his car and was concerned that someone had broken into his house.
McClellan said Randle met the police at his home and handed over the keys for them to check inside. It turned out Rodriguez was at school. Since there was no suspicion of criminal activity, no report was written up, McClellan said.
McCellan told George that Randle" admitted to officers that he was having delusions... He said that he was delusional, that he was imagining the whole thing."
Since being cut, Randle's troubles haven't slowed down. On Monday morning, Randle was arrested over an outstanding speeding warrant, his fourth arrest in 17 months.
In November, three weeks after the Cowboys cut Randle, he was arrested at a casino for becoming "belligerent" on the casino floor. George reports that Randle was charged with four misdemeanors — two counts of disorderly conduct, one count of criminal trespass and one count of resisting arrest.
See photos of Joseph Randle
This follows a troublesome 2014 season in which Randle was arrested for shoplifting at a mall, then an incident months later in which he allegedly pointed a gun at his ex-girlfriend during a domestic violence incident then later was found with possession of marijuana. According to George, the drug charges were dropped and there was a lack of evidence to charge Randle for the domestic violence incident.
Though George couldn't get in contact with Randle, Randle did text Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram and said there's "no truth at all" to the gambling reports.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' comments on the matters don't clear up any of the confusion on the reports of gambling. At the Senior Bowl last week, Jones said, "[Randle's issues] became apparent to us right during the season. Not before the season. It became real acute, a combination of things. Some issues ... became more apparent"
When asked if there was evidence that Randle bet on NFL games, Jones said, "At this time, no."
He also added, "There are certain types of gambling that you can't do as a player. Obviously you can't be involved in ... anything that we're competing in, and I've never heard of anything like that." However, Jones did reference Randle's last game with the Cowboys in which he left with an injury, rode a stationary bike on the sideline, but never returned.
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"I've never suspected in any way a relationship between that [and gambling]. I just thought he was [hurt], but I do believe at that time that his entire lifestyle and the whole thing was piling up on him," Jones said.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told George the NFL had no knowledge that Randle ever placed wagers on sporting events.
According to George, the "final straw" with Randle came when the Cowboys asked him to seek outside help for some of his problems, and he refused.
George reports the NFL is keeping a close eye on Randle for his well-being.
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