If you spent the duration of the Greg Hardy appeal holding your breath then you might be able to give Michael Phelps a run for his money, but if you were it was certainly worth it! The NFL, Arbitrator Harold Henderson to be specific, officially reduced Greg Hardy’s 10-game suspension down to 4 games last Friday.
This means that Greg Hardy is eligible to return to the field of play in Week 5 when the Dallas Cowboys host the World Champion New England Patriots at AT&T Stadium on October 11th, 2015. That sound that you are now hearing is the waterfall coming out of Rod Marinelli’s mouth as he salivates over Hardy rushing a Tom Brady-less New England.
While Greg Hardy spent the entire 2014 season on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, entering that year he was coming off 11 and 15 sacks in 2012 and 2013, respectively. If Greg Hardy is who the front office thinks he is then my oh my are we going to have some fun. Greg Hardy can potentially line up on the interior of the defensive line with Tyrone Crawford, allowing second-year player Demarcus Lawrence and rookie Randy Gregory to be the bookend pass rushers.
All reports so far indicate that Greg Hardy has looked great and that he’s constantly challenging his teammates. The former Carolina Panther brings tenacity to the defensive line that has been missing it for quite some time, and he can help improve an overall defensive unit that only produced 27 sacks in 2014.
The Cowboys were looking at potentially being without Hardy's services until their match with his former team on Thanksgiving, the Carolina Panthers. Much is made about how critical NFL games are in November and December, but six games from September to the middle of November can make or break a team's season.
Greg Hardy's First 5 Games As A Cowboy:
- Host the Patriots
- Travel to New York to play the Giants
- Host the Seahawks
- Host the Eagles
- Travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers
- Travel to Miami to play the Dolphins
Consider that those are some potent offenses that would have been all the more difficult to defend without somebody that has Greg Hardy's talent. It's only fair to also assume that it will take Hardy a few games to get back into his rhythm, and he should be back to his havoc-wreaking ways when DeMarco Murray and the Eagles come to town.
It’s going to be a very fun training camp to watch as Hardy and Co. go up against what many believe is the best offensive line in football every day. The Cowboys host the Giants, travel to Philadelphia, host the Falcons, and host the Saints in the first four weeks of the season. It’s very easy to believe that the Cowboys will go 3-1, at worse 2-2, or quite possibly 4-0 in that stretch. Regardless of the record that the Cowboys roll into Week 5 with…getting Greg Hardy on the field is only going to make them better.