It was going to happen sooner or later: Greg Hardy trying out for a team. The Jacksonville Jaguars seem to be the only ones doing more than just showing some interest, which might actually be the door opening the former Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers defensive end needed.
Hardy, 27, seemed to be crossed off every shortlist in the NFL. The domestic violence charges against him cost him a season out of the league (2014), but that didn’t stop the Dallas Cowboys from signing him, knowing he was going to be suspended for the beginning of the 2015 season as well. On November 5, domestic violence charges against Hardy were expunged from his record. At the time, the chargers were dropped because the victim, his ex girlfriend, didn’t appear in court to testify, with the prosecutor believing the two sides came to a civil agreement. A day after the charges were expunged from his record, Deadspin released police photographs of Hardy’s ex-girlfriend’s injuries.
Hardy played for the Cowboys with all that in the background, finishing with 6 sacks in 12 games, mostly playing well, but his behavior in the locker room and on the sidelines didn’t win him any new fans. It was a matter of time before the Cowboys dumped him, not re-thinking the decision not to keep him on for another season. A good player, maybe very good, but a personality it was difficult even for the Cowboys, a franchise never shy from adding troublemakers to the group, to keep in check.
And so Hardy, who was a Pro Bowler in 2013 and a 2nd team All-Pro that season, couldn’t land a gig. No tryouts. Maybe he was asking for too much money, but the reason had more to do with PR. This wasn’t the Ray Rice case, when everyone saw him hit his future wife with a knockout punch, but the combination of things for Hardy weren’t working in his favor.
But time heals some wounds, at least when it comes to pro athletes, and some execs have said, Hardy was going to find a team to play for at some point. The Jaguars might not be that team, but right now, he’s too good of a player for the entire league to put in the rearview mirror. Maybe he deserves to be left out for good, maybe he deserves another shot. This visit and workout in Jacksonville, if it goes well, is probably the first step towards being legitimized again.