NFL

NFL AM: Jason Garrett Is Done Talking About Greg Hardy

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Jason Garrett is done talking about Greg Hardy:

Regardless of how you feel about Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, you probably felt at least a little bad for him that he had to deal with that woman abusing idiot Greg Hardy.

Well, 2015 is over, and the Cowboys head coach doesn’t have to deal with that headache anymore, and he took time while talking to the media at the NFL combine to make that point pretty clear with one short answer. Garrett was asked what Hardy’s status was and didn’t worry about pretending that he might want his team to keep the talented, yet far too troubled (that’s being nice) defensive end.

“He’s a free agent,” Garrett replied, offering no other statement on where the team is with Hardy.

Before last season it seemed unlikely that Hardy would receive much attention from NFL teams after his history, but the Cowboys gave him a shot to turn around his image and prove he could be an asset to a team desperate for a pass rusher. If it’s even possible, all Hardy did was make his image worse.

Before 2015, we knew that Hardy was a guy who lost his mind one night and beat his girlfriend relentlessly. In 2015, we learned that the former Carolina Panthers defensive end doesn’t have any remorse for beating his girlfriend, and doesn’t even have enough sense to pretend.

Instead of pretending to have learned something or, you know, actually trying to become a better person, Hardy spent the year proving what kind of jerk he was on and off the football field, including the Cowboys’ locker room.

Unlike what you’d expect from a player trying to hold onto his NFL career and prove that he belongs in the league, Hardy was late for practices, and became a distraction, eventually reportedly falling out of favor with some of the teammates who supported his signing before the year.

Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey whose locker was next to Hardy’s explained the whole thing just became too much for the team.

“You talk about a team that was so close knit and tight, and all of a sudden it was just different,” Mincey said in January. “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.”

Hopefully NFL clubs take note at how disruptive Hardy was to the Cowboys instead of to opposing offenses as Jerry Jones and company hoped. This is an opportunity, again, for NFL teams to tell this animal there’s no place for him in the NFL. Hopefully Garrett is the last head coach who has to answer for this idiot, because when you realize this guy isn’t much better at being a teammate than he is at being a boyfriend or human being, what’s really left?

Thomas Rawls will have to compete to land Seahawks starting role:

Before the 2015 NFL season began many people would have responded to a question about Seattle Seahawks rookie running back Thomas Rawls with a question of their own; who?

However, after a fantastic rookie year that saw the undrafted rookie free agent spell an oft injured Marshawn Lynch as the team’s starting back, many expected he would be the heir apparent to the running back position with “Beast Mode” retiring.

Not so fast.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider was asked at the combine Wednesday if Rawls would be the starter at tailback next season, he said the team would be bringing in competition for the back coming off a late season fractured ankle.

“He definitely has the talent to do it,” Schneider said. “But we’re going to get a couple of people in there to compete with him. He’s recovering from a significant injury as well. He’s a fun kid and a real talented guy. I just can’t tell you that right now. I’ll go to Vegas, I guess, if I could tell you that.”

While there’s a guy who would seem to be a great fit for the Seahawks like Doug Martin on the market, it doesn’t seem like the Seahawk way to go out and spend free agent dollars on a high ticket running back. It’s much more likely the team look to a second-tier free agent back or to the draft to bring in competition for Rawls, because as Rawls proves, you can find guys to tote the rock all over the place.

Auburn running back Peyton Barber’s early entry motivated by homeless mother:

Perhaps when the Seahawks go looking for Thomas Rawls’ competition they may want to look towards late-round prospect Peyton Barber out of Auburn. The redshirt sophomore entered the NFL Draft to the surprise of many after having just 10 carries as a freshman, and running for just over 1,000 yards (averaging 4.3 yards-per-carry) as a sophomore for the Tigers.

Wednesday, Barber explained why he entered the draft when he could have gained much needed experience and upped his draft stock by returning to Auburn.

“My mother is homeless right now,” Barber explained. “Right now she’s staying with her sister. It’s her and her three kids staying in an apartment back home.”

Whether it’s the Seahawks or one of the other 31 NFL teams, it’s clear they’re going to get a young man who understands motivation when they draft Barber. While many young men work their whole lives to get to the NFL, and while Barber isn’t the first to enter the draft to take care of his family, the motivation to house a homeless mother should help drive the Auburn back as he enters his NFL career.

Barber took the time to explain that while his mom needs a home, she didn’t push him towards this decision.

“She really just asks me if I’m OK and how I’m doing. She never pressured me to do anything,” Barber said. “I just decided to do what’s best for me and my family.”

What’s best for Barber and his family would be to land with a team like Seattle where head coach Pete Carroll has famously given late round picks and undrafted free agents (see Thomas Rawls) an opportunity to play a major role.

Wherever the rookie back ends up, teams will know his motivation is to take care of his mother, and that’s a good sign for the young man’s character.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.