Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy has declared the Panthers “a nameless, faceless opponent” this week, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have their phone numbers.
Some of the old teammates he left behind in Carolina said they still keep in touch with the controversial defensive end, who they’ll see in person on Thursday.
Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, fullback Mike Tolbert said he talks to Hardy “all the time.”
“He’s very excited just to prove to everybody, especially the Panthers, that he still can play and it was a mistake letting him go,” Tolbert said of a recent text from Hardy.
Of course, if Hardy thinks his being shown the door was football related, then he’s as delusional as a guy who thinks he’s the victim regarding his domestic violence arrest and subsequent suspension.
Isolating his play on the field, Hardy was a beast his last few years in Carolina (26.0 sacks in his final two full seasons there), and was generally liked in the locker room such that he had a presence there. He was quirky, for sure, and got a wide berth. So when it was time to make a decision on his future, some players lobbied for him to return.
“Greg Hardy is a guy that you flat out want on your football team,” Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said. “He’s a guy that’s a game-changer. He can go out and totally wreck a game plan if you allow him to.
“So of course we went and spoke up for him trying to get him back. But a few details came out with his whole situation and unfortunately we weren’t able to get him back.”
Yes, a few details, a list of which the Cowboys are sorting through and receiving the backlash for now. And while Hardy is a rare pass-rush talent, the Panthers are doing pretty well without him at the moment, which is why they’re willing say nice things and move along.
“He did some good things for us as a football player,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said when asked to sum up his experience with Hardy.
And the things he didn’t say spoke volumes.