The Carolina Panthers suffered a devastating blow last NFL season - one that preceded their heartbreaking loss to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl 50. Before the football season started, the Cam Newton squad lost one of their best players: Greg Hardy. The defensive end, who faced legal battles in the past years, signed with the Dallas Cowboys. However, his tenure with the Tony Romo team failed to impress. Moreover, the Dez Bryant group appeared to be wary of his presence due to the allegations of domestic violence against him. His on and off field issues, later on, pushed Jerry Jones to let him go. Unemployed and judged by the NFL community, it looks like Hardy is now gearing for a comeback. Will the Carolina Panthers welcome him back?
The most pressing issue Hardy faced was the domestic violence charges filed against him in 2014. The former Dallas Cowboys star was alleged to have assaulted his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder. This concern prompted the Carolina Panthers to disallow Hardy to continue playing for the team. Prior to his exit, however, teammates from the Michael Oher squad expressed their desire to keep the defensive end in the NFL team. Despite these comments, Jerry Richardson stood by his decision to eliminate Hardy from the Carolina Panthers roster.
At the time, the Carolina Panthers owner said that his stance against domestic violence could not be surpassed by any other issue - not even football. Hence, Richardson remained firm in his move to release Hardy. However, a recent interview with ESPN may have invalidated the arguments of the Carolina Panthers exec. In the said one-on-one, the defensive end denied ever hitting a woman, thereby making the reason behind his exit from the Super Bowl 50 runner-up team fallacious.
"I've never put my hand on any woman," said Hardy in the interview with Adam Schefter. He added that he was not raised by his parents to hurt or hit a woman, noting that physical aggression against his brother or sister was not permitted at all in their household.
Clearly, this statement is in contrast with the pictures of Holder which showed the defensive end's ex-girlfriend beaten and bloodied. To these pieces of evidence, Hardy said that such things can be manipulated to fit the whims of those who wish to use it. He said, "Pictures are pictures, and they can be made to look like whatever they want to. I didn't say I didn't do anything wrong. That situation occurred and that situation was handled, but as a man, you can't avoid situations that aren't your fault or are your fault."
Following the interview, Schefter also shared his reactions and impression of Hardy. According to the reporter, the former Dallas Cowboys star appeared to be a "changed" person. Schefter also admitted that the interview altered his initial perception of the football star.
"I went in with the idea that this guy is a monster," said Schefter of Hardy. He added, "I came out of there with a very different feeling. This is a guy who has managed to say the wrong things at the wrong time. I found him to be a changed kind of guy."
Does this mean that the Carolina Panthers will re-sign Greg Hardy? Even before the issue became public knowledge, members of the Cam Newton squad have been quite vocal about their support for the defensive end. Josh Norman, the cornerback for the Carolina Panthers, revealed then how much everyone in the NFL team wanted him back. However, the star shared that it was Richardson who made the final call.
"I don't know how that went down with Mr. Richardson. I know as far as the Panthers, coach, and the players, we definitely wanted him back," Norman said at the time. He added, "I know we wanted him back. We would have tried to do anything to get him back.''