Dallas Cowboys

Greg Hardy explains why he was cut in interview: 'Give him a chance, he's a Cowboy'

Former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy was released after the 2015 season.
Former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy was released after the 2015 season. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Greg Hardy is one of the most controversial free-agent acquisitions in Jerry Jones' tenure as owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys.

In July 2014, the then-Carolina Panther was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, but the charges were dropped after the alleged victim refused to testify in his appeal.

The Cowboys signed him after he was released by the Panthers.

In a new interview with Sports Illustrated's "The Monday Morning Quarterback," the former All-Pro explains his turbulent last days in Dallas.

"Being in no man’s land leaves you without somebody having my back,” Hardy told The MMQB. “Having the Dallas Cowboys was like having the biggest bully in the world have your back. It said, Greg’s okay, give him a chance, he’s a Cowboy. That launched me into a party phase. I got away from reality.”

Hardy was in the middle of an all-pro season when Deadspin published images of his ex-girlfriend's reported injuries.

"But after the Deadspin story, Cowboys sources say Hardy’s mood soured. He slept through meetings and practiced in a fog, and as he went, so went his impressionable young teammates," wrote MMQB's Robert Klemko, the author of the story.

Hardy was then suspended for 10 games for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. That suspension was later reduced to four games.

He was not re-signed after he finished his one-year contract with the Cowboys. In addition, he did not draw interest from any other team in the league.

The troubled defensive end was also arrested on drug charges in Richardson, Texas, in September 2016. He later pleaded guilty and had to pay a fine and perform community service.

A few weeks ago, Hardy fought against Austen Lane in the heavyweight division as part of the UFC’s fighter-search show "Dana White’s Contender Series."

The 28-year-old prevailed over Lane in a first-round knockout.

This fight was the most talked about fight on the card in the opening episode of the second season.

Up to this point, Hardy has produced a 3-0 record as an amateur fighter, with all three victories coming via knockout.

In the lead up to the fight, White said on ESPN that the former Pro Bowl defensive end deserves a second chance.

Hardy called White an "angel" for providing the opportunity to start a new athletic career.