GRAPEVINE Greg Hardy hasn’t made many positive headlines since joining the Dallas Cowboys earlier this off-season.
First, the NFL came down harder than expected by slapping Hardy with a 10-game suspension for a domestic violence incident in May 2014, which Hardy has appealed. Then Hardy made news for getting involved in a verbal spat with one of his new teammates during conditioning drills followed by a social media post that tried to make light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that cost thousands of innocent lives.
All that aside, though, Hardy has managed to at least leave a favorable impression for Cowboys brass. Hardy let his personality be shown a little bit at the Cowboys’ annual golf tournament on Wednesday afternoon, poking fun at his own golf game.
After teeing off on one hole, Hardy’s playing partners told him he hit it right down the fairway.
Hardy then replied: “Or hit a house. Let’s be real.”
Hardy chuckled and added: “Probably hit somebody’s window.”
Hardy didn’t do an extensive media interview Wednesday in his first interaction with the local media, but he did answer, “Awesome sauce” when asked if he was happy to be in Dallas.
It’s that type of personality that has rubbed off on owner Jerry Jones, as well as executive vice president Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett. All three spoke positively about Hardy once again.
“He comes to work,” Jerry Jones said. “He was out here at 7 this morning teeing off. He fired me up. He’s ready to go at all hours. I’m excited about his zest. It’s contagious. We were well aware of it and we knew that’s what we were getting, but on the football field, he’s a big plus apart from how well he plays individually.
“He helps everybody work harder and that’s what you want from a player from a leadership standpoint. He’s a leader.”
The Cowboys made the controversial acquisition of Hardy to bolster a lackluster pass rush. They had only 28 sacks in the regular-season last year, and desperately needed to address it.
Hardy filled that void with a bargain price tag, as most teams shied away from adding a player with so many character questions. But, on the field, there’s no denying Hardy’s ability.
He had 26 total sacks in 2012 and 2013, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2013. But he played only one game last season before being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.
“I think he’s having a great offseason,” Stephen Jones said. “I think his focus needs to continue to be on getting himself ready for football. He sat out a year, so he’s back at it, my understanding. Seeing him out there, he’s working very hard. He needs to continue to stay focused on that. I know certainly he has some business off the field that certainly will have an effect on what he does on the field coming up. He’ll have to pay attention to that. But he’s doing a good job and he needs to continue to stay focused on getting better.”