Veteran defensive end Jeremy Mincey sat next to Greg Hardy in the Cowboys locker room, so he’s not going to just come out and trash his neighbor.
Even while trashing his neighbor.
During an interview with KDFW 4 in Dallas, Mincey began by saying he found Hardy to be “misunderstood,” but then laid out a pretty convincing case why the free agent defensive end probably shouldn’t return.
“I have to deal with him, and being that you have to deal with him, I grew accustomed to a misunderstood person and I got to know him a little better than a lot of people here,” Mincey began, via the Dallas Morning News. “It was tough. It was tough. You know, you got this guy, who you want to be a leader, and then you got that guy. It was just too much.”
He was then asked about the tension in the locker room Hardy created, following reports that many players soured on Hardy because he was perpetually tardy to meetings and never really punished.
“Yeah it grew. It grew. It definitely grew,” Mincey said. “I hate it happened — you talk about a team that was so close knit and tight and all of a sudden it was just different. I wouldn’t say that he’s the reason for that happening, but sometimes change, sometimes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You know what I mean? And sometimes with change, the team is different.
“Regardless of how great this athlete is and regardless of this and that, if they’re not mentally on the same page, you’re not going to get the same results.”
Then asked if it would be difficult to bring Hardy back after his one-year redemption tour didn’t go as planned (he offered just 6.0 sacks, and 1.5 in the last six games for his $8.8 million) and have that locker room be cohesive again, Mincey agreed.
“Yeah, it will be — I think it will be good for the younger guys, which I don’t know how they feel about him personally, I mean I haven’t spoken to them or asked,” he said. “It would be me or him, you see what I’m saying? It would be either or. It’s hard to have two type of line mentality guys in one room, so it’s tough to figure out who the younger guys are going to follow. Of course they’re going to look up to a go who’s a prolific player. But I just understand the game, and I know what it takes to win.”
Mincey has some self-preservation stake in this game, since he’s a free agent this offseason also. So positioning himself as the anti-Hardy in terms of leadership might actually be a really pragmatic play on his part.
But regardless his own situation, the more people talk about the impact Hardy had in Dallas this year, the less likely it seems the Cowboys will want to bring him back, after so much big talk early in the process.