Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy has met with the NFL about his reinstatement. It is believed we will hear a decision before free agency begins next week.
Hardy has been on the Commissioner’s Exempt List since week two of last season following a conviction on domestic violence charges. Hardy appealed the conviction last month and authorities decided to drop the charges.
The NFL is taking domestic violence issues seriously, particularly in the wake of the Ray Rice episode. But since the charges on Hardy have been dropped, and since he has already served a severe punishment of missing most of the 2014 season, why would the NFL punish Hardy with an additional suspension?
Hardy is a free agent, and if this situation had not happened he would have been perhaps the most sought after defensive end on the market. He will be 27 this summer, and Hardy should have several more productive seasons left in his career.
Should the Falcons go after Hardy? Well, they desperately need pass rushers, and Hardy was one of the best in the NFL before his suspension. Hardy had 15 sacks in 2013 and 11 in 2012. He could immediately step in at one of the vacant defensive end positions and be an obvious upgrade.
Would team owner Arthur Blank allow his front office to sign Hardy? AJC beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter told us Wednesday it is unlikely to happen, and he’s definitely probably right. Blank has tried to stay away from questionable people to bring in as free agents.
The Falcons would be making a huge mistake to not consider Hardy. They should at least talk with him and see if he is contrite about whatever happened to make authorities press charges against him. If they talked with him and weren’t comfortable with Hardy’s answers regarding the issue, then they shouldn’t sign him. But if Hardy did say the right things, why wouldn’t Atlanta talk with him about joining Dan Quinn’s defense?
There are several players that will interest the Falcons in free agency, but would any others have the type of potential impact that Hardy might have if he were signed? The Falcons have seen first-hand how dangerous Hardy can be on defense, and to simply write him off because of his off-the-field issues would be silly. Check into it. Do the due diligence. But don’t just discount a player that could really help the team that easily.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at email@example.com.
Falcons should talk with Greg Hardy
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