Is Greg Hardy’s NFL Career Over?


Around this time last year, Jerry Jones and his Dallas Cowboys opted to sign troubled defensive end Greg Hardy to a one-year deal. As we know by now, Jerry isn’t bashful about giving guys with character issues second chances.

However, it’s uncertain if Hardy will get another opportunity in ‘the Big D’ or if he’ll get another spot on a NFL roster at all.

In 12 games this past season, Hardy totaled six sacks to go along with one pick and one defended pass. Considering Dallas only finished with 31 sacks, which ranked them 25th in the league, it would make sense from a football perspective to bring Hardy back.

Every NFL team must figure out if Hardy is worth the headache.

During the season, Hardy made an inapproriate “guns blazing” comment, while commenting on Tom Brady’s wife and sister. To go along with that, he appeared to be a bad teammate.

In a contest against the New York Giants, Hardy was shoving teammates and it appeared that he even shoved a member of the coaching staff. Afterwards, star receiver Dez Bryant got into a shouting match with him on the sideline.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, head coach Jason Garrett was asked about Hardy.

“Greg Hardy is a free agent,” Garrett said before unleashing an icy stare toward the reporter inquiring.

Hardy’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, spoke on the matter:

“I have approached the team about Greg after the season but I’m not going to divulge their business,” Rosenhaus stressed. “Jerry (Jones) said there hasn’t been discussion, so I’m not really saying anything about it.”

During the course of the season, Jones was all for a potential Hardy extension, but that was then and here is now. 

“I’m reminded time and time again. No matter how great the player. If they haven’t played for a season, it’s impossible for them to come back and play at the level that they may have played prior to that. That alone is dreaming,” Jones stressed. “You don’t lay off for year or a year and half. Even though you are a great player, you just lose something in getting back when you are laid off.”

There have been players with off the field issues in the past who’ve received multiple chances, but when it comes to domestic violence, the NFL is really strict about it for obvious reasons.

The former sixth-round pick was arrested for assault and communication threats towards his ex-girlfrind in 2014, however, the case was dismissed when the victim failed to make herself available for trial.

With that being known, in a league that’s pass happy, the need for pass rushers is at an all-time high, which could be the saving grace for Hardy as he looks for a home.

Teams such as New Orleans, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta, Buffalo and the New York Giants are all in dire need of a pass rusher, as they all finished behind the Cowboys in team sacks this past season.

Contrary to popular belief, I’m willing to bet Hardy gets a one-year deal somewhere, but if he keeps getting answers like the one he got from Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, then all bets are off.

“Greg Hardy? He won’t be a Raven, I can tell you that,” Harbaugh expressed.

As talented as Hardy is, combined with him playing a premium position, the damage he did by not being spectacular last year in Dallas is working against him in a major way.  Whichever team would bring him in would have to deal with protests, and an average pass rusher, which he was last year isn’t worth that.

Again, it’s likely that he will get a deal somewhere by some team that values pass rushing over character, but the list of suitors is small once Jerry Jones backs out.

About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.