Greg Hardy is, to paraphrase Dennis Green, who we thought he was.
The Dallas defensive end invaded a huddle on Sunday to berate or inspire, depending on if you believe your eyes or descriptions from Hardy’s teammates, the Cowboys special teams and its coordinator Rich Bisaccia. Hardy yelled, pointed, and even pushed the coach. The heated exchange followed Dwayne Harris of the Giants returning a kick 100 yards for a touchdown against the Cowboys kickoff team. The 4th quarter touchdown proved the margin of victory in the 27-20 win for New York.
As an encore, Hardy engaged in an animated argument with injured Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant on the sidelines. In the locker room, he invoked the same phrase “No comment, next question” in response to every question. “Thank you guys for coming,” a shirtless Hardy deadpanned to conclude the impromptu press conference in front of his locker. “I appreciate you guys very much.”
Hardy’s antics come in his second game in a Cowboys uniform. It’s not as though Mel Renfro or Randy White blitzed the special teams huddle. A guy the special teams players just met did. The seventh game of the Cowboys season became the second game of Hardy’s season because of a suspension stemming from domestic violence accusations. The sixth rounder out of Ole Miss sat with pay for most of last season. But the commissioner slapped him with a ten-game suspension, reduced by an arbiter to four, for this season.
Hardy allegedly treated a former flame the way he treated Tom Brady a few weeks back. His ex-girlfriend claimed:
Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment. Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders, arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe. He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. Hardy picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons. Hardy bragged that all of those assault rifles were loaded. Landing on those weapons bruised my neck and back.
Hardy’s ex, who no-showed in court after settling a civil suit with the player, describes an out-of-control man. We didn’t see the off-field altercation. But we did see his on-field altercations. We watched an out-of-control man add credence to the affidavit describing an out-of-control man. The only point at which the defensive end appeared the master of his emotions, during his interaction with the media, he came off as a jerk, and not a particularly creative one at that. If you’re going to go Marshawn Lynch and ignore journalists, at least employ a stock answer that isn’t so, well, stock.
Jerry Jones proved more loquacious. Would the hands-on owner mete out discipline to prevent such in-game outbursts in the future? “As a matter of fact,” Jones quipped, “I would encourage it.” Jones, who similarly seconded Hardy’s creepy comments on October 6 about Tom Brady’s wife, called his $10 Million Man “one of the real leaders on this team.” Head coach Jason Garrett maintained, “You want the guys with passion.”
Vince Lombardi regarded football as a game of “controlled violence.” Hardy, boasting three sacks in his two games for Dallas, understands the violence part. Control? Not so much.
Greg Hardy is who we thought he was. And we let him off the hook!