Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ has doubled down on his support of controversial defensive end Greg Hardy to the point of defiance.
Not only does Jones continue to not have a problem with Hardy’s sideline tantrum in last Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the New York Giants _ which the owner lauded as leadership and passion _ he wants to sign the combustible but talented defensive end to a long-term contract extension.
“Yes,” said Jones asked on his radio show on 105.3 FM the Fan Tuesday when asked if he wanted to sign Hardy to contract extension. “When we initially signed, talked to him, asked him to join the team, it was not only with the idea of a short-term but a long-term purvey. He’s a relatively, relatively speaking, young player. And he certainly has the kinds of skills and impacts that we want to look to the future with with the Cowboys.”
When the Cowboys signed Hardy in March he was being investigated by the NFL because of a 2014 domestic violence incident when he was still with the Carolina Panthers. He was suspended for 11 games that eventually reduced to four violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Hardy has three sacks in two games since returning from suspension and has been the dominant performer on the field that they hoped he would be when they signed to an incentive-laden, one-year deal in the offseason that required him to prove himself on and off the field.
Per a source, Hardy and his agents would welcome talks about long-term deal. The Cowboys seem ready to oblige.
Jones’ comments about a long-term contract extension for Hardy come one day after vice-president Stephen Jones made the same claim on his radio show on 105.3 FM the fan while also defending Hardy’s actions against the Giants.
Hardy blew up on the sideline after Dwayne Harris returned a kickoff 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.
The Cowboys received national criticism following Hardy’s rant and the decision to not discipline him.
But Jones stands firm: “I don’t have any different view than I had Sunday.”
This marks at least the third time the Cowboys have had to talk to Hardy after his actions have drawn national negative attention since his signing in March. 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.
Jones said he has been criticized for enabling Hardy since the day they signed him and many of the same people are coming after them again.
“I would say that they said that when I signed him,” Jones said. “So, you begin right there. We all know that the same ones that had the idea, and I really do understand completely their perspective, and they know -- I don’t need to say it again -- in no way is anybody anything but against any type of domestic violence. We won’t get into that. That’s not the point. We’re talking about the sideline, but you’re going to go ahead and take me on over to that aspect of it. But the most comments I got on enabling was when we signed him. ‘They’re enabling.’ It basically looks like you’re condoning domestic violence, which is not the case.”
Jones also reiterated that Hardy has been an inspirational leader for the Cowboys in how he works in practice and in games. His teammates respect him and he makes plays. That’s all that matters to the Cowboys.
“The leadership aspect comes in different ways,” Jones said. “First of all, to really be a leader on a football team, you talkin’ the talk without walkin’ the walk, the old song, everything else, doesn’t happen. The real leaders are really outstanding football players. And, so, they get it done and through that, they earn a great deal of respect by their teammates. And, so, my view is totally through the eyes of within the team what the team thinks, what they think of each other, what they think of each other. How hard are they willing to support each other when you do get in these competitive times? And, so, it is the role of an individual. It is not necessarily a guy that givese a Knute Rockne talk. But it can be done through sheer abilities on the field. And, so, since Greg, by the way, this has been with him forever. Since Greg got here, his effort, his basic aggressiveness, which is an absolute must to play the game and play his position, has just absolutely been something that if you have any knowledge or not necessarily a lack of knowledge, but if you have an appreciation for football, when he talks you listen.”