Greg Hardy hasn’t played a game in more than a year, and hasn’t played two games in a row since the end of 2013. But he’s not going to get a chance to ease into it, with a game against the Patriots Sunday and the Cowboys needing the free agent defensive end to play well immediately.
“I hope not,” Hardy said of needing time to adapt, via Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com. “I hope I come out guns blazin’. I’m full of excitement and full of juice. I’m ready to go. I have what they call fresh legs. I’m really excited to get out there on that grass or turf and see what they can do.”
Ah, “guns blazin.'” A charming choice of words for a guy who had to surrender nine assault-type rifles and shotguns to police following the domestic violence arrest which included charges of threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend and throwing her into a futon full of said guns. That led him to spend all but one game of last season on the commissioner’s exempt list, followed by a 10-game suspension this year which was reduced to four. The criminal charges were thrown out when the accuser didn’t show for court, following a civil settlement.
But Hardy was nonetheless stained by the ordeal, and said he was glad the Cowboys offered him a chance.
“It’s been the most awesome period of my life, man. I’m a Dallas Cowboy,” Hardy said. “Dream come true. Big star on my helmet. Jerry Jones up there, checking me out every week. I’m ecstatic, happy and elated.”
There was very little sign of contrition from Hardy, who only apologized for not being eligible to play.
“In the last few seasons, man, honestly, it’s been a blur just getting ready to come back,” Hardy said. “And now that I’m back, I don’t reminisce. I don’t look back, other than to know that I need to get forward, I need to get to progress and I need to get to sacks, and I need to get to the place where I need to be to help this team. That’s where we’re at right now.. . .
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be here for my teammates. The worst feeling in the world is not being there for somebody you care about or somebody that needs you. That’s what we need, a full team, and everybody pulling their load. And that’s what I’m going to do when I come back.”
When he’s been eligible, he’s been an incredible pass-rusher, with 15.0 sacks in 2013. But he’s also been a guy beset by bad judgment in the past, from a pre-training camp motorcycle wreck in Carolina, to turning his Bentley into a submarine shortly upon his arrival in Dallas.
And if he has any remorse for his actions, it only pertains to not being able to play as much football or make as much money as he could have.