Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy Still Hoping For NFL Opportunity

Former Panthers and Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy is now focusing on mixed martial arts, but he still hopes to find his way back to the NFL. Hardy says he is “damn ready at all times” to play in the NFL, though he knows that call might never come. Greg Hardy MMA (vertical)

That’s the tricky part,” Hardy said when asked if he deserves another chance (link via Mark Francescutti of the Dallas Morning News). “I have to use everything I learned in martial arts and learn to let it go. I won’t force it. It’s them not giving me an opportunity.”

Hardy says he has agreed to play in 13 games with the Richmond Roughriders of the American Arena League with a contract that will allow him to opt out for an NFL deal. In the meantime, he is getting ready for an amateur MMA bout on Friday night. If the NFL never gives him another chance at taking the field, Hardy says his long-term goal is to become the UFC’s heavyweight champion.

Back in July, agent Drew Rosenhaus admitted that the window on Hardy’s NFL career is closing. Hardy did reasonably well for the Cowboys in 2015 as he started 15 games and graded out as the league’s 28th-best edge defender out of 110 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus. On the other hand, he’s a public relations nightmare and he was frequently late or absent from team meetings during that season, which marked his first “second chance”. Teams know that signing Hardy, 30 in July, would upset a good portion of the fan base and possibly disturb the locker room.

Right now, it still doesn’t seem likely that he’ll get another crack at redemption in the NFL. But, for what it’s worth, Hardy has not given up on the idea.

NFL Window Nearly Closed For Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy was scheduled to participate in last weekend’s Spring League Showcase, but he did not take the field with the other NFL hopefuls in California. Instead, Hardy is choosing to focus on his MMA training, agent Drew Rosenhaus tells Mike Florio of PFTGreg Hardy MMA (vertical)

Hardy still hopes to get a chance in the NFL, Rosenhaus says, but both the player and his rep are being realistic about the odds. The agent is hoping that the former Panthers and Cowboys defensive end will get a call from an interested team in the next month, but there’s no reason to think that there will suddenly be a groundswell of interest.

Hardy received zero bites from any teams last offseason after starting 12 games for the Cowboys in 2015. He’s now even further removed from live action but he’s just as toxic as he was before from a PR perspective. There’s also the matter of his perceived attitude problem. Even when he was bestowed with a second chance with the Cowboys, Hardy was reportedly irritable and frequently late for practice.

As talented as he is, teams feel they have little incentive to kick the tires on Hardy. Barring a miracle, it sounds like Hardy will be devoting himself to cage fighting full time rather than pursuing a return to the gridiron.

Photo via Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Agent: Teams Have Shown Interest In Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy is still trying to make his way back to the NFL, and agent Drew Rosenhaus told PFT Live‘s Mike Florio that several teams have shown some interest in the troubled defensive end. However, a deal isn’t impending, and Rosenhaus isn’t particularly optimistic.

Greg Hardy (vertical)“Teams have shown interest, but nothing is imminent. I can’t sit here and say that I’m overly optimistic, either,” Rosenhaus said. “I know this is a window for Greg; it’s really important if he’s going to continue his NFL career that he gets into a training camp. I’m working as hard as I can to let the teams know that the issues of the past, Greg has learned from that. People tend to learn when they go through hardship and adversity, and I think everyone can see what Greg’s gone through. It’s humbled him, and he’s improved for the better.”

Of course, those “issues of the past” might be unforgivable in some organization’s eyes. Hardy was arrested following a domestic violence dispute in 2014, and he was also jailed for cocaine possession in 2016. The now-28-year-old had an opportunity with the Cowboys in 2015, when he compiled 35 tackles and six sacks in 12 games (12 starts). However, the player was “moody, lazy, and late to practice” during his Dallas tenure, so front offices might also be debating his passion for the game. Rosenhaus said all of these factors are playing a role in Hardy’s inability to catch on with a team.

“I think it’s the confluence of things, I think it’s the combination,” he said. Joe Mixon got an opportunity even though he was involved with a very controversial situation, so you’d say why wouldn’t Greg Hardy [get the same chance]? The challenge that we have obviously is that Greg didn’t have the best experience with the Cowboys, and that’s the kind of thing that has hurt him with other teams. This most recent experience, [he’s] just trying to show teams that he’s past that. He’s a team player who is going to work hard. Unfortunately, Greg had a legal issue last offseason, and we’re trying to distance him from that, as well. So I think it’s just a combination of things, and it’s been the perfect storm to try to overcome. I’m hopeful that we can, but I can’t make any promises.”

Rosenhaus noted that Hardy is currently focused on his Ultimate Fighting training, and the defensive end was also included in the list of players participating in the Spring League. However, the agent said that Hardy would not be playing in the league’s showcase today in California. The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles of the Indoor Football League also expressed interest in Hardy, although ultimately nothing came of their innovative fan vote.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fred Jackson To Participate In July Showcase

Fred Jackson is still looking for an NFL job and he’s hoping that a mass audition next month will help make that happen. Today, the Spring League announced that it will host a special showcase game in California on July 15 featuring the former Bills running back (via PFT). Fred Jackson

In addition to Jackson’s debut, controversial defensive end Greg Hardy will also be making his return to the upstart league. Anthony “Boobie” Dixon, who was in Buffalo with Jackson in 2014 and 2015, will also be on hand at Napa Memorial Stadium in Napa, California. The game will be contested between the “Spring League California” and “Spring League East” teams. Terry Shea will coach the California team while Donnie Henderson will coach the East squad.

The Spring League Showcase will provide the NFL with additional opportunities to evaluate players just before the start of training camps,” Spring League CEO Brian Woods said in the press release.

Jackson spent the 2015 season with the Seahawks and had just 26 carries for 100 yards and 32 receptions for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, he was out of football. Still, at the age of 36, Jackson is out to prove that he can perform at a high level. Jackson’s last quality season as a runner was arguably back in 2013 when he ran for 890 yards off of 206 carries (4.3 yards per carry average) with nine scores. In 2014, he had a career-high 66 catches for 501 yards but didn’t fare as well carrying the ball.

Between 2011 and 2013, Hardy averaged 56 tackles and 10 sacks per season season. Even in a down year with Dallas in 2015, he ranked as the league’s 28th-best edge defender out of 110 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus. However, NFL teams have stayed away from Hardy due to all of his baggage.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Spring League Announces Camp Roster

Since we learned last year that there’d be a spring football league in 2017, several former NFL stars have committed to the endeavor. Today, The Spring League announced (via Twitter) their full training camp roster.

Ahmad BradshawAs was previously reported, defensive end Greg Hardy, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., and running back Ben Tate were among the major names to have committed to the league. Former cornerback Brandon Browner was reportedly involved, but he was curiously omitted from the training camp roster. Former Giants and Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw is seemingly the biggest addition to the roster since the last update.

The Spring League is composed of four teams, with the rosters comprised of veteran free agents. Ultimately, six games will be played between April 5 through April 26. Players who are currently on NFL rosters are not eligible to participate.

The full training camp roster can be found below:

Quarterbacks

Running backs

Fullbacks

  • Adam Cox
  • Jonathan Amosa

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Extra Points: Pats, Browns, Saints, Mixon

There have been conflicting reports over the past couple months on whether the Patriots will consider trading backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. The latest update, via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, indicates the Pats “do not want to deal” Garoppolo, even though he could hit free agency next year. No team has shown more interest in Garoppolo this offseason than the Browns, but they’ve seemingly given up hope on acquiring him, per Rapoport, who adds that the Pats regard the 25-year-old as a franchise-caliber passer. New England already has an all-world option under center in Tom Brady, of course, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is set to play his age-40 season in 2017.

One of Garoppolo’s New England teammates, cornerback Malcolm Butler, has also been a prominent part of trade rumors this offseason. While the Patriots’ intention is to keep Butler, according to owner Robert Kraft, Larry Holder of NOLA.com anticipates that they’ll ultimately deal him to the Saints (video via NFL.com). New Orleans has chased Butler, a restricted free agent, and has reportedly had productive long-term contract discussions with him. The Saints aren’t willing to give up the No. 11 overall pick for Butler, but they could dangle the 32nd selection, which they acquired from the Pats in the Brandin Cooks trade.

More from around the sport:

  • Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon will rack up 15 visits with teams prior to the beginning of the draft on April 27, his agent, Peter Schaffer, told Michael Gehlken of Pro Football Talk. “(This many visits) is clearly not efficient and (consumes) a lot of time,” said Schaffer. “But at the same time, it’s important to have it. It’s a blessing for any player to get considered for the draft. Along with that blessing comes hard work.” Many of the clubs Mixon has met with are willing to forgive him for his checkered past, which jibes with a report that he could go as high as the second round. “Everyone who has brought him in has remarked how remorseful he is about what he did when he was 18 … and that he’s deserving of a second chance,” Schaffer revealed.
  • Former NFLers Greg Hardy, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kellen Winslow, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Ben Tate and Ricky Stanzi have reported to West Virginia to partake in the Spring League, relays Mike Florio of PFT. The league, which isn’t affiliated with the NFL, will play a six-game season from April 15-26. Its participants won’t receive pay – only lodging and meals during the season – writes Florio. Some pro scouts will be on hand, though, giving the players an opportunity to stand out and earn either a first NFL shot or, in the cases of the aforementioned six, a repeat chance(s).
  • The expectation is that the Ravens will eventually release cornerback Kyle Arrington, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Ravens would first like Arrington to pass a physical, notes Zrebiec. Arrington suffered a concussion during the preseason last summer and landed on injured reserve at the end of August. Cutting the 30-year-old would save Baltimore $2.1MM, against just under $667K in dead money.

Poll: Should An NFL Team Sign Greg Hardy?

Greg Hardy‘s stock is lower than we ever could have expected. An Indoor Football League team flirted with the idea of signing the defensive end, but opted against it after he did not pass a fan referendum. No one wants to go near the former Pro Bowler because of his unsettling history with domestic violence and perceived lack of accountability for said violence. Even when the Cowboys gave him a second chance in 2015, he was moody, lazy, and late to practice. It’s easy to understand why the NFL wants nothing to do with him and one can even understand the IFL’s hesitation in getting involved with him. Greg Hardy (vertical)

Still, when he’s on the field, Hardy is a game-changing talent. Between 2011 and 2013, the former sixth-round pick averaged 56 tackles and 10 sacks per season season. Even in a down year with Dallas in 2015, he ranked as the league’s 28th-best edge defender out of 110 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus. At his worst, Hardy is a starting caliber defensive end and he won’t turn 29 until this summer.

Today, we borrow a page from the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles’ book and ask this of PFR readers: Would you want your favorite team to sign Hardy? Vote below and, if you want, explain your choice in the comments.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Hardy, Giants, Kizer

An Indoor Football League team held a fan vote to determine whether it would sign Greg Hardy and the results are in. Fans of Salt Lake Screaming Eagles have voted against signing the controversial defensive end, as ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell writes. The vote barely went against Hardy with 50.1% of fans voting against him, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer tweets.

If the vote went through, the 28-year-old would have been in uniform for Friday night’s game against the Colorado Crush. As far as we know, the upcoming Spring League will be Hardy’s next stop in football. If that doesn’t work out, he can always shift his attention back towards MMA.

Here’s more from the NFL, as well as news on the Spring League:

  • Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan attended Notre Dame’s pro day to get a look at quarterback DeShone Kizer, James Kratch of NJ.com writes. Drafting Kizer would be an opportunity for the Giants to reprise Green Bay’s Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers scenario, meaning that they would forge ahead with Eli Manning as the starter while taking their time to groom his successor. The Giants are slated to pick at No. 23 and again at No. 55 in the second round. Kizer could be available at No. 23 but odds are he won’t be there near the backend of the second round.
  • The coaching staffs for the upcoming Spring League will include Donnie Henderson, Terry Shea, Steve Fairchild, and Denny Creehan, as Mike Florio of PFT writes. Henderson previously served as the defensive coordinator of the Jets and Lions and most recently was with the Bills’ coaching staff. Shea, a former offensive coordinator for the Bears and quarterbacks coach for the Chiefs, Dolphins, and Rams, has not coached high-level football in nearly a decade.
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Greg Hardy May Join Indoor Football League

The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles of the Indoor Football League are allowing a fan vote to decide whether embattled defensive end Greg Hardy will join their roster in 2017, the club announced today. At last check, 61% of respondents are in favor of signing Hardy.Greg Hardy (vertical)

“[Hardy] has expressed a strong desire to join the Screaming Eagles as a way for him to showcase his football skills and prove worthy of another chance,” reads the team’s press release. “As a football player, Hardy is a physically gifted pass-rusher who could make an immediate impact on our defensive line. As an off-the-field member of the community, there are past allegations and arrests that he carries.”

The Indoor Football League is the second organization willing to give Hardy another chance at the gridiron, as Hardy is among the former NFL players who has committed to play in the Spring League. Hardy, who has also embarked on an MMA career, didn’t play in 2016 after a myriad of off-field issues dissuaded NFL clubs from signing him to a contract.

Still only 28 years old, Hardy is an exceptional talent on the field, as he posted 26 sacks from 2012-13. But given his history of violence and drug use, and a lack of effective play in the past three years, it’s unclear if Hardy will ever get another NFL opportunity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kellen Winslow, Ben Tate Join Spring League

The Spring League kicks off in April and it will feature some notable names looking to resurrect their football careers. Defensive end Greg Hardy, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., cornerback Brandon Browner, and running back Ben Tate are among the players who have been confirmed as participants, according to a press release. Greg Hardy (vertical)

Winslow has not played in an NFL game since the 2013 season and we haven’t heard much from him since he worked out for the Packers last August. Tate, a former second-round pick, showed lots of promise in Houston but could not capitalize on a starting opportunity with the Browns in 2014. Hardy and Browner first committed to the league in early March.

The Spring League consists of four teams comprised of veteran free agents. The league will conduct practices and play six games from April 5 through April 26. Players who are currently on NFL rosters will not be eligible to participate.

The league has secured five quarterbacks thus far, including Chiefs 2011 fifth-round pick Ricky Stanzi and NFL practice squad journeyman McLeod Bethel-Thompson. At wide receiver, there’s former Ram Brandon Gibson, Jets 2014 fourth-round pick Jalen Saunders, and one-time Bills WR2 David Nelson. Former Jets defensive back Ellis Lankster and Texans 2013 third-round defensive tackle Sam Montgomery will also be suiting up for The Spring League next month.

The full list of players can be found below. In addition to those listed here, Pro Football Rumors has learned that another 30 players are expected to join prior to the start of training camp.

Quarterbacks

  • Hutson Mason
  • Ricky Stanzi
  • McLeod Bethel-Thompson
  • Zach Kline
  • Jeremy Cannon

Running backs

Wide receivers

  • Jalen Saunders
  • David Nelson
  • Kenzel Doe
  • Brandon Gibson
  • Daje’ Johnson
  • Gavin Lutman
  • Tyler McDonald
  • J.D. Woods
  • Sed Cunningham
  • Lawrence Smith
  • Terrance Lewis
  • Rashon Ceaser
  • Kendrick Wiggins

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