But he’s smart enough to stay out of the big waves of Hawaii this week at the Pro Bowl.
“I don’t play around like that,” Hardy joked, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “Not before money time.”
As a pending free agent coming off a 15-sack season, Hardy stands to cash in this offseason one way or another.
The Panthers might elect to use the franchise tag on him, and he’s said in the past he’s OK with that. He’s also said he will and will not be offering hometown discounts, so it’s hard to tell where he actually stands on the topic. The Panthers are still digging out of a salary cap hole, so they have to make decisions beyond the immediate.
“It’s a waiting process. They’ve got to get the budget right,” Hardy said. “It’s a reality of football. It’s a reality of business. They’ve got the ball in their court right now. If that’s what they choose to do, nothing but respect and love.
“Carolina’s my home. But I’ve got to go back to work. I’d rather be here if I can. But if not, it’s just business.”
The numbers are going to be big regardless, assuming Hardy keeps his word and stays out of any body-surfing injuries or the like.