Stephen Jones wasn’t pleased by the notion the Cowboys were expecting a lighter suspension for defensive end Greg Hardy.
The NFL came down harder on Hardy than most believed, giving him a 10-game suspension last week for a May 2014 domestic violence incident that involved Hardy and his ex-girlfriend. Most felt it would be within the four- to six-game range.
Hardy is appealing the suspension and it could be reduced, but Jones said the Cowboys were well aware a hefty suspension could be coming at the time they signed him.
“I don’t think it turned out any different than what we thought could happen,” Jones said. “And I think we structured a contract to deal with that … our eyes were wide open on that. It’s not a surprise to anybody.”
Hardy’s contract calls for per-game bonuses that could have fetched as much as $9.25 million but now, if the suspension stands, would be limited to a little less than $3.5 million.
Jones also downplayed an incident following workouts between Hardy and backup defensive lineman Davon Coleman. The two had a verbal spat after Hardy got on Coleman for his effort level.
“What goes on inside the house, stays in the house,” Jones said.
But given Hardy’s past and pending suspension, some feel it’s out of line for Hardy to waltz in and tell his new teammates how to act. Others, though, feel it’s well within Hardy’s right to try and establish himself as a leader considering his veteran status and past successes on the field.
Jones falls in the latter, saying Hardy “absolutely” should step up as a leader. Jones added that the coaching staff has been pleased with how Hardy has acclimated to his new environment.
Hardy is eligible to participate in all the Cowboys’ offseason workouts, training camp and preseason games. His suspension doesn’t begin until Sept. 5 and, at that point, he can’t be at the team’s facility.