The Cowboys’ gamble with Greg Hardy didn’t pay off.
Not because he’s a bad person. But because he wasn’t that good of a player.
In sports, coaches always bend the rules for stars. But Hardy wasn’t worth his trouble because he was nowhere close to being a star. In the season finale he needed two sacks to trigger a multi-million dollar bonus in his contract. But against a backup left tackle for the Redskins in a game that held no team significance, Hardy could produce only one measly tackle and no sacks.
Hardy started strong, recording two sacks of Tom Brady in his first game, three in his first two and then added a deflected interception in his third game, against the Seahawks. During that performance, off the field, in the locker room and on social media he was an embarrassing distraction.
But after a lecture from head coach Jason Garrett and limited availability to the media, Hardy’s play shrank along with his persona. In his last 10 games, he had only three sacks. For the season he had six, finishing behind team leader DeMarcus Lawrence’s eight.
Hardy had flashes of being what the Cowboys hoped for – a dominant defensive playmaker. But more times than not he was part of the 4-12 problem instead of a unique, positive solution. He didn’t single-handedly cause any losses, but he also didn’t impact any victory.
With Hardy on the field the Cowboys were 2-10. Just not eye-popping, game-changing numbers for a guy who earned $9 million this season and is set to be a free agent in March.
Hardy was late to team meetings. He caused distractions on social media. His actions prompted meetings with Garrett and even owner Jerry Jones. I never thought the Cowboys should have signed him in the first place. And now, after an underwhelming performance on the field, I don’t think they should bring him back.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.