The only thing more stunning than Greg Hardy’s behavior Sunday was the Cowboys’ response to it. Not only did the Cowboys let Hardy go unpunished, but they also defended his actions, with Jerry Jones even commending Hardy’s so-called leadership.
Why are the Cowboys so defensive of Hardy’s unquestionably bad behavior?
“Well, it’s a great question, and I think the answer is pretty simple: He can play,” Bleacher Report NFL columnist Mike Freeman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “As bad of a guy as he is – and he’s a pretty bad guy – they were happy in Carolina to get rid of him, to be honest with you, when you talk to people there. As bad of a guy as he can be, he’s as much of a good player. He’s one of the top two of three pass rushers in the league. That’s why. Jerry Jones is desperate. He wants to win, and he hasn’t won in awhile. He wants to win again. He wants to be great again. So you see this all the time. You see teams justifying this kind of stuff all the time. The Cowboys are taking it to a whole new level, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Just acting like the stuff he’s doing is nothing and we all look at it and go, ‘What are you talking about? We can all see what he did. We can listen to him. We can watch him.’ They’re taking it to a different level, but that’s the answer. They just want talent. They want to win. And they will use almost any means necessary to do it. That’s the bulk of the answer.”
Dallas, which entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, is 0-4 without Tony Romo. At this point, the Cowboys need all the help they can get – especially from Hardy, whose checkered past was well-known and well-documented in Carolina.
“When you talk to people there in that locker room and in that front office, they will tell you this was kind of a constant thing with Hardy, and the more you try to control him, the more he sort of rebels,” Freeman said. “So I think the Cowboys are sort of seeing that. What you’re saying is completely smart and rational and would happen in almost any case, but he’s a volatile guy. And remember: When Hardy was a free agent and he had been cleared and he was able to sign, it’s not like there were a lot of teams standing in line to get him. They knew his background. They knew that he was this volatile guy, so a lot of guys stayed away from him – despite the fact that he’s one of the most physically gifted guys in the league. But this is what you get. If you’re the Cowboys, you knew what you were signing up for. You knew what he was and this shouldn’t surprise them. I guess what’s surprising to me and to you and probably to your listeners is the distance the team is going to defend him. It’s pretty remarkable to see, actually.”