Greg Hardy didn’t take long to respond about his preferred landing spot in free agency.
The controversial defensive end would be more than happy to extend his time with the Dallas Cowboys.
“Who wouldn’t want to be a Cowboy?” Hardy told the Star-Telegram after the Cowboys’ 34-23 loss to the Washington Redskins in the season finale.
Did Hardy do enough to warrant a return?
“I’m not the GM,” he said. “If I was the GM, then I would be applying for that job. I can’t answer that question. You’d have to ask the GM.”
Who wouldn’t want to be a Cowboy?
Defensive end Greg Hardy, on wishing to extend his time with Dallas
Well, general manager/owner Jerry Jones didn’t want to comment on free agents such as Hardy. However, Jones said he felt Hardy made a positive impact on the field, even though the stat book might not suggest it.
Hardy, 27, finished with six sacks, recording only two over the final eight games. He had one tackle and one quarterback hit in the finale against the Redskins.
If Hardy would have gotten two more sacks, he could have triggered a $500,000 incentive bonus in his contract.
“He was an outstanding player and we may not have gotten his individual sack total up, but he made an impact across the board,” Jones said. “He was a good player for us, and we’ll evaluate [free agent status] real close with any good player.”
The Cowboys gambled on Hardy last off-season, taking a public relations hit in order to boost their pass rush.
... We may not have gotten his individual sack total up, but he made an impact across the board.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Greg Hardy’s season
In May 2014, Hardy had been involved in a domestic violence incident and spent all but one game on the commissioner’s exempt list last season with the Carolina Panthers.
The Cowboys signed him in March knowing that Hardy would face a suspension, which ended up being a four-game suspension after appeal.
On top of the suspension, Hardy provided plenty of headaches for the Cowboys too. On four occasions, the team had to meet with Hardy on various issues, including two social media posts and a sideline altercation with an assistant coach during a game.
But the Cowboys stuck by him throughout, and Hardy expressed appreciation for the second chance given to him. The only regret Hardy ended the season with is the 4-12 record the team posted.
The season sucked. ... I’m not a fan of being not relevant, especially when my man [Jerry Jones] took a nice chance on me.
“The season sucked,” Hardy said. “That’s the whole statement on that one — the season sucked. There was not enough wins. You’ve got to win to be relevant, so we didn’t win enough. I’m not a fan of being not relevant, especially when my man [Jerry Jones] took a nice chance on me.
“I would love to repay that debt with a million sacks and a ton of wins. We couldn’t, so I would say it was very mal — for my Spanish fans — mucho mal.”
Mucho mal translates to “very bad” and that’s a fair assessment of the Cowboys’ season.
Hardy, along with rookie Randy Gregory, were supposed to boost the Cowboys’ pass rush a year after they got only 28 sacks. But Dallas had only three more sacks (31) than last season, and the pass rush didn’t peak as the season wore on as most thought it would.
Still, Hardy feels he took advantage of the opportunity given to him by the Cowboys to resume his playing career.
“I believe so. I believe it’s the perfect timing for me just coming to a place that was accepting, and coming to a place that let me play and do my thing,” Hardy said. “Be personable and be reasonable for me and with me. Help me changed my life and changed the world.”
31 Sacks for the Cowboys, even with the additon of Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory, only three more sacks than in 2014
For as many issues as Hardy created early on, he has shown strides of getting his life back together in the final weeks of the season. He took part in a charity coat drive last month, and hasn’t created a stir with controversial online posts or comments to the media of late.
That, along with his abilities on the field, is why Hardy is “very confident” he has earned another opportunity. Time will tell whether it’s with the Cowboys, but Hardy certainly seemed open to it.
I’ve learned so much, I’ve been a part of so much. I was ecstatic.
Greg Hardy on his season with the Cowboys
Asked how he’d look back on his time if Sunday was his last game with the Cowboys, Hardy said: “I’d be kinda sad because I look good in blue and white, let’s be honest. It’s been awesome.
“I got to play with frickin’ Tony Romo; I got to play with Dez Bryant; I got to play with Jason Witten; I got to play with frickin’ Sean Lee ... talented. I got to play with monsters in this game, legends in this game. The frickin’ head coach [Jason Garrett], Jerry Jones, the Jones family, legendary people in this game, people who know a lot. I’ve learned so much, I’ve been a part of so much. I was ecstatic.”