NFL's Panthers puts Hardy on leave pending settlement of case

Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:20pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - The Carolina Panthers on Wednesday placed Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy on the National Football League's exempt list, meaning he will not play until his domestic violence case is settled.

Hardy was convicted in July of domestic violence, but has appealed the verdict, which entitles him to a jury trial under North Carolina law. The date for his trial is Nov. 17.

"It's the right thing to do," Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman told reporters, noting that Hardy, who will be paid during the leave, agreed to the move. "Our overriding goal has always been to do the right thing."

The Panthers' move came after the Minnesota Vikings made the same decision with running back Adrian Peterson, who is accused of beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.

"I understand that I need to step away from football right now and take care of this legal matter," Hardy said in a statement. "I am entitled to my day in court and that's where my focus should be.

"I am disappointed to leave my teammates and the Carolina Panthers organization during our season. My decision to take a leave of absence allows me to focus on my family until the legal process has run its course."

Hardy, who led the team with 15 sacks last season, can be at the team facility but cannot attend practice.

"We're disappointed. He's an outstanding player, obviously," said Gettleman. "We have to get this right. He has to get this right."   Continued...

Nov 24, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) catches a pass in front of Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) during the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports