Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took a big chance signing Greg Hardy this spring, and the pass-rusher has made a pledge to make good on the opportunity.
Hardy vowed to make Jones “happy” about his decision during an interview with WFAA’s Joe Trahan:
“What I am going to do is make sure Jerry’s happy,” Hardy said. “[Because] he took a chance on me.”
Hardy missed 15 games last year as he languished on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list for his involvement in a domestic violence case. He is also suspended for 10 games this year, though ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently reported that number could drop anywhere from two to six games.
Nicknamed “The Kraken” during his tenure with the Carolina Panthers, Hardy turned himself into one of the league’s feared pass-rushers in 2012-2013. He racked up 26 sacks in those two seasons and is indubitably confident he can return to dominance with the Cowboys.
“My success is already ensured,” Hardy said. “I’m a Pro Bowl defensive end. Just got to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Hardy also promises he’ll be a model citizen for Jones and the Cowboys. In addition to the domestic violence charges levied against him, he was also found to have at least a dozen guns in his possession.
“Make sure nothing happens,” Hardy says his goal is. “At all. Period. Like, anything. Anything but good football. Touchdowns, sacks. Hopefully a lot of Pro Bowl action.”
Teammate Jason Witten made recent news when he came out in defiance against domestic violence but also supported Hardy because he is a teammate. Though there was a minor incident in April (a verbal altercation) during conditioning drills, it appears the Cowboys have fully embraced “The Kraken.”
This isn’t surprising.
In the NFL, winning is everything.
Hardy can certainly help Dallas win football games. He’s a premier pass-rusher, and those don’t grow on trees. With one surge of effort in the fourth quarter, he can turn the tide of a contest with his ability to disrupt opposing passing attacks.
And, if Schefter’s sources are correct, then there is a good chance Hardy will have an opportunity to prove himself worthy of the trust Jones has placed in him, sooner, rather than later.
Plenty of people don’t want to see Hardy play football because he was exonerated by his peers after he was found guilty by a judge originally.
Regardless of how you view domestic violence, Hardy has already served an entire year’s worth of discipline. Yes, he was paid for his time away from the game. But NFL players are creatures of habit who thrive in the company of their peers and whither when that isn’t an available option.
“You know, I’m really excited just to get back out there with my team… Everything reminds you of being with your team, and having fun, and the fellowship and camaraderie you have – on the field, off the field, in the locker room. Just being with guys that understand you – and competing on a whole ‘nother level.”
One thing is certain: Barring injury, Hardy will take the field wearing a Cowboys uniform at some point this year.
Regardless of how he’s received by the public, he is being embraced within the organization. And if he produces on the field, not only will that support grow, but many in the general public will cheer for him, too.
Because we cannot get enough football in America.
And that’s the truth.
Photo: USA Today Sports