Former teammate examines pros, cons of Greg Hardy

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have lots of things to consider as they possibly close in on a deal for Greg Hardy.

From a football standpoint it makes perfect sense. Hardy is the best pass rusher on the open market, and the Cowboys’ stated No. 1 goal of the offseason is to improve a pass rush that had just 28 sacks in 2014 and couldn’t sniff an immobile Aaron Rodgers in the playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Off the field is another story, but if the Cowboys are this far down the road on negotiations they must feel comfortable in adding him to the roster.

He is facing a possible suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy stemming from an incident last spring with an ex-girlfriend. A judge found Hardy guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill Nicole Holder, but the verdict was set aside when Hardy requested a jury trial.

Charges were dropped when Holder refused to cooperate with the district attorney’s office after receiving a financial settlement from Hardy.

There is no doubt the Cowboys have been in contact with the league office on Hardy’s playing status. He remains on the commissioner’s exempt list and met recently with Roger Goodell. A league spokesman said the case is being reviewed and they will have a decision as soon as possible.

Next up is how the potential signing will be greeted in the locker room. Generally, if a player can help a team win the new teammates don’t care what happened in a player’s past. There is a big belief in second chances in locker rooms. Especially for talented players.

On ESPN 103.3 FM’s “Fitzsimmons and Friedo show Tuesday, former Carolina Panthers teammate Ben Hartsock spoke about Hardy.

Is Hardy worth the risk?

“Well, I think that's a great question,” Hartsock said. “When he's on the field, he's a dominant force. Because of that, he's going to get more leniency. The issue he has right now is whether he's too toxic. He's going to be on a very, very short leash. If he screws up one more time, I believe he'll be on his way out. But I do believe he's going to get another chance and I think he deserves it.”

But Hartsock offered up some buyer-beware thoughts as well.

“You trust him to the extent that you don't necessarily know what you're going to get,” Hartsock said. “The Greg Hardy that was on the field was going to be a nightmare for the opposing team. But then you go in and everybody is in the hot tub or the cold tub after practice just shooting the breeze and the guy carries on a very reasonable, level-headed inquisitive type of conversation. But then there are other times when he's just unmanageable. And that's why I think things have gotten in trouble with his personal life. He's going have to go a long ways to earn the trust of any organization, whether it be Dallas or any other franchise across the league.

“His reputation has now become an Achilles heel. Trustworthy is kind of a sliding scale in the NFL. If you're talented and you have the ability and some skills that no one else has, trustworthiness can be slid a little bit more. Like I said, there aren't many people like him on the planet that can play and that can do the things that he does. But we are also in an NFL environment right now where any off-the-field liability is frowned upon very strongly.”