Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett refused to address reports that defensive end Greg Hardy missed most of the morning meetings last Thursday.
But he said the Cowboys remain behind Hardy and have no regrets about his presence on the team despite a string of incidents since his controversial arrival in March because of his involvement in a domestic violence incident with his former girlfriend.
Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports was the first to report Hardy’s tardiness.
It has since been confirmed to the Star-Telegram by a source.
The latest incident came three days before Sunday’s 10-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I don’t want to get into any specifics about a player and him being late or missing things,” Garrett said. “Suffice it to say that we have standards here with the Cowboys that if a player were to miss something or be late for something we address it in-house and we address it the right way.”
Greg Hardy was involved in a sideline tiff with teammate DeMarcus Lawrence in the first half. The two had to be separated after going nose to nose.
Garrett didn’t confirm the incident. But he didn’t deny it either.
Vice president Stephen Jones had a similar response on 105.3 FM The Fan earlier Monday.
“We’re not going to address that,” Jones said.
Garrett said if a player missed a meeting, then he would be fined per team rules.
The missed meetings had no impact on Hardy’s playing time against the Buccaneers. Hardy started at right defensive end Sunday. He played 60 of 71 snaps, making one tackle and recording no sacks.
He was also involved in a sideline tiff with teammate DeMarcus Lawrence in the first half. The two had to be separated after going nose to nose.
All appeared resolved by halftime when the two walked to the locker room together with Lawrence’s arm around Hardy’s shoulder for a brief moment.
Garrett said the sideline incident was no big deal in a game that resulted in the seventh consecutive loss for the Cowboys.
“No. It didn’t affect anybody,” Garrett said.
Still, Hardy’s list of distractions seems to be growing.
Hardy’s late arrival Thursday came a day after he briefly changed his Twitter profile claiming his innocence in a domestic violence incident in May 2014. He was initially found guilty by a North Carolina judge, but then asked for a jury trial. Charges were eventually dropped because the ex-girlfriend refused to cooperate with the district attorney.
I don’t think it’s been easy for him. But I think he is doing his best to handle it every day.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on the scrutiny on defensive end Greg Hardy
Hardy, however, was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Garrett acknowledged last week he talked to Hardy about his Twitter bio. The Cowboys have had to address at least four off-field incidents with Hardy since they signed him last spring.
Hardy has not addressed the media in a couple of weeks.
But Garrett said all the scrutiny and attention are wearing on him.
“I don’t think it’s been easy for him,” Garrett said. “But I think he is doing his best to handle it every day. He is a highly scrutinized guy. One of the things we are trying to do is create an environment for him where he can come be his best.
“Come to work every day and work hard and get himself ready to play in this ballgame. And I think for the most part he has a done a pretty good job of that.”
Because Hardy tries to do his best every day, Garrett said the Cowboys will continue to support him.
Garrett said there comes a point with any player that if bad behavior persists, then you do what you have to do to remove him from the situation.
He said the Cowboys have not reached that point with Hardy and the team has no regrets about signing him.
“We brought Greg in,” Garrett said. “We believe he can help our football team. We’re trying to provide the right opportunity for him, the right structure for him, the right environment for him to play his best and to be his best. We’ll continue to do that.”
Garrett made it clear that Hardy’s presence was a collective decision and not one forced on him and the coaching staff by owner Jerry Jones.
“Every decision that we make is a collective decision, it’s a collaborative decision, particularly in regard to personnel,” Garrett said.
The Cowboys waived linebacker Keith Smith.