Greg Hardy is the kind of football player you sign with the hopes that he will somehow mature on your team in a way that he was unable to do on his old team. For anyone who watched the Dallas Cowboys’ game on Sunday, you know that’s not what happened with Hardy and his new team.
After being drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2009, Greg Hardy had relatively low-key rookie and sophomore NFL seasons. But Hardy registered 11 sacks in 2012 and earned his first All-Pro appearance after finishing the 2013 season with 15 sacks. Greg set a team record by registering four sacks in one game against the Atlanta Falcons that season.
However, the next season, Greg only played one game for the Panthers. Hardy was placed on the exempt list by the league for all of the others after domestic abuse charges were brought against him. As recounted by ESPN, Greg Hardy missed 15 games last season after the NFL determined that Hardy was guilty of multiple league violations. Greg’s accuser said he strangled and threatened her before he threw her “onto a futon covered with loaded guns.” Related to the same issue, Hardy also missed the first four games of this season.
In his first game back against New England, Hardy had five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. It was exactly the kind of game that Jerry Jones was looking for out of Greg Hardy.
Although his stats were less impressive in Week 7 against the New York Giants, his behavior on the sidelines and in the locker room earned made Hardy a hot topic. After the Giants returned a kick-off for a touchdown to take a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter, Hardy decided to have some words with the special teams coach, Rich Bisaccia. Greg approaches Rich, the coach’s clipboard is slapped, a little shoving ensues — all in front of the cameras, right on the sidelines.
Having not quite gotten it all out of his system, Hardy was seen yelling on the sidelines at another teammate — injured wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Speaking of injured teammates, quarterback Tony Romo was seen talking to Greg Hardy after the game, prior to being subjected to questions from the press. It’s never a good idea to face the media when you’re in a bad mood, and Greg Hardy has a history of saying less-than-appropriate things to reporters. In a move reminiscent of Marshawn Lynch, Hardy answered every question presented to him — usually before the reporter could finish the inquiry — by refusing to give a true answer.
It doesn’t seem like Hardy is going to catch much heat from the Cowboys’ management. Post-game, as Deadspin noted, owner Jerry Jones called Greg Hardy a “real leader on this team” and head coach Josh Garrett chalked it up to on-field intensity. While the Dallas Cowboys haven’t been known to run the tightest ship, they may be even more lenient with Hardy’s behavior while some of their talent recovers. As we mentioned, big names like Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are currently sidelined, leaving Dallas in last place after the loss on Sunday. Although his actions may be inexcusable, Greg Hardy’s frustration may be understandable.
It is not expected that Greg Hardy will receive any punishment from the Cowboys or the league for his actions. Hardy and the Cowboys will face off against the Seattle Seahawks in NFL’s Week 8. The game takes place in Dallas and can be seen on Fox at 3:25 on Sunday.
[Image credit Christian Petersen / Getty Images]