Although Greg Hardy’s rant during Sunday’s game has been replayed ad nauseam while drawing national criticism, the Dallas Cowboys’ official response from Valley Ranch continues to be: There is nothing to see here, folks.
Coach Jason Garrett acknowledged the Cowboys talked to Hardy about his actions, but said the team would not discipline the defensive end.
“A lot of people outside this building seem to be making more of this than anybody inside this building is,” Garrett said Monday. “We ask our guys to come to work every day and practice hard, and we ask them to play hard on Sunday and play together. If sometimes something happens where we have to coach them back into getting focused on the task at hand, that’s our job as coaches to do that.
“We have guys who are well intended on this team. We have guys who work hard individually but work hard also for the team to make it the best team we can make it. The guys who work the hardest and the guys who are the most productive have the most influence on the team, and that’s a good thing. It’s a meritocracy that way.
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“We’ll keep working hard; Greg will keep working hard. If Greg or anybody else kind of gets out of bounds a little bit or loses their focus a little bit, what we’ll do is try to bring them right back in. That’s really what we’ll do. That’s how we’ll handle those situations going forward.”
Hardy’s rant, though, was all the talk nationally Monday. Former NFL coach Tony Dungy, now with NBC, stood among those criticizing Hardy.
Former Cowboys defensive lineman Chad Hennings called Hardy’s actions “unfortunate.”
I like Greg. I think he brings a lot to the game. But by the same token, to be a champion, you have to act and play like a champion both on and off the field.
Former Cowboys defensive lineman Chad Hennings on Hardy
“Anybody who has played athletics long enough has been around individuals who have played with passion, and the thing about those types of individuals and those types of personalities is being able to put boundaries around them to get great play out of them on the field but to set the expectations that you are a professional and act professional,” Hennings said at an event at AT&T Stadium intended to raise awareness and prevent domestic violence. “I like Greg. I think he brings a lot to the game. But by the same token, to be a champion, you have to act and play like a champion both on and off the field.”
Hardy blew up on the sideline after Dwayne Harris returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to give the Giants a 27-20 lead late in Sunday’s game. Hardy ran onto the field for the PAT waving his arms, encouraging Giants fans to get louder.
After the extra point, Hardy broke up the special teams huddle. He pushed, shoved and yelled at teammates getting ready for the ensuing kickoff before slapping at a clipboard special teams coach Rich Bisaccia held. Bisaccia shoved Hardy out of the huddle.
The assistant head coach said after the game he had no issue with Hardy other than it “was just not the right time.”
Hardy’s rant continued down the sideline, with several teammates, including Dez Bryant, Tyrone Crawford, Nick Hayden and DeMarcus Lawrence, seemingly attempting to calm Hardy.
Hardy had no comment after the game.
But players, coaches and even owner Jerry Jones came to Hardy’s defense. And executive vice president Stephen Jones, during his weekly radio show Monday, compared Hardy’s competitiveness to Michael Irvin, Bryant and Charles Haley.
Stephen Jones also said the Cowboys would consider a long-term deal with Hardy. Hardy signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal worth as much as $13 million with the Cowboys during the off-season. He becomes a free agent after this year.
“Absolutely. Very much a possibility,” Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan.
He’s done everything since he’s been with us in a good way. I know he’ll continue to improve.
Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones on Hardy
Hardy has three sacks and six quarterback hits in the two games since returning from a four-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the league. But his off-field behavior has overshadowed his play.
This marks at least the third time that the Cowboys have had to talk to Hardy: He tweeted a tasteless joke about the Twin Towers during the draft; and earlier this month, during his first media availability in Dallas, Hardy joked about Tom Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, and talked about returning to the field with “guns blazing” after more than a year away from football.
“We talked about the value of having passion and emotion and enthusiasm for the game,” Garrett said of his most recent talk with Hardy. “Greg and I talked about how you can channel that better.
“It was not a big deal from anybody inside our football team and inside this building.”
Seahawks at Cowboys
3:25 p.m. Sunday, KDFW/4