The Panthers have been able to withstand the absence of defensive end Charles Johnson the last two games with a knee injury, in part because they have another standout end in Greg Hardy.
But Hardy was standing on the sideline watching the start of yesterday’s win over the Buccaneers, his punishment for being late for a team meeting.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Hardy was also fined by the team, and apologized to coach Ron Rivera in the locker room after the game.
Hardy missed the first two snaps, but then only got one play off the rest of the day, playing 46 of the 49 defensive snaps.
While other coaches have taken harsher measures (Jaguars defensive lineman Jeremy Mincey’s been inactive the last two weeks), we also don’t know the degree of Hardy’s tardiness or whether it was a pattern.
While the Panthers couldn’t afford to take him off the field for long without Johnson available, Hardy can’t afford to create the impression he’s a problem off the field, as he prepares to hit free agency this offseason.