Cowboys Greg Hardy bad influence on Randy Gregory

Aug 1, 2015; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive ends Greg Hardy (76) and Randy Gregory (94) at training camp at River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2015; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive ends Greg Hardy (76) and Randy Gregory (94) at training camp at River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

A report has surfaced that one of the reasons the Dallas Cowboys will not re-sign troubled defensive end Greg Hardy is due to the bad influence he had on rookie pass rusher Randy Gregory.

Following na ill-advised attempt to re-build his shaky reputation with an ESPN interview last week, the reasons the Dallas Cowboys are unwilling to re-sign troubled free agent defensive end Greg Hardy should be self-evident.

Hardy signed with the Cowboys just over a year ago under intense public scrutiny for his involvement in a domestic violence incident that took place in early 2014. Suspended for the majority of the prior season, the All-Pro pass rusher joined the Cowboys team looking for a chance at redemption. And he found it, initially.

But leaked photos of his former girlfriend, Nicole Holder, hit the internet in early November. That incident seemed to push the already borderline Hardy over the edge. Angry sideline antics and reports of increased tardiness, combined with decreased production on the field soured the Cowboys on the 27-year old defensive end.

After serving a four game suspension, Hardy debuted with the Cowboys in Week Five recording eight total tackles and 3.0 sacks in his first two games. In his following 12 contests, he would record a total of only 27 tackles and 3.0 sacks.

If poor production wasn’t enough to keep Dallas from re-signing Hardy, one writer is reporting that there was a growing concern within the organization that the veteran’s example was negatively effecting the team’s second round draft choice, Nebraska’s Randy Gregory.

"“[Randy] Gregory has a problem with addiction. That’s not [Greg] Hardy’s fault,” David Moore, staff writer for the Dallas Morning News wrote on Friday. “But there was a growing concern at Valley Ranch that Hardy had become a negative influence on Gregory during the player’s rookie season. It’s a stretch to say that Hardy took Gregory under his wing, but he certainly didn’t provide a positive example of what it takes to be a professional in the league.”"

A failed drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine is one of the reasons Gregory, who was considered a top ten talent at one time, fell to the Cowboys at the 60th overall selection in the second round of last year’s NFL Draft. So the young prospect had his problems long before meeting Hardy.

But Gregory has also failed four drug tests in the past year. And the rookie was recently suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Although Gregory has fessed up to his mistakes, having a role model like Hardy certainly hasn’t aided his situation. And the fact neither of them produced very much on the field last year only convoluted the issue.

Well, there it is. If you needed yet another reason why Hardy has likely played his last game with a Star on his helmet, the maturity (or lack thereof) of Gregory is likely another one. Although, the rookie’s issues started long before he was added to the team, having a distracting player on the squad like Hardy is certainly not the example you want this young man to follow, especially off the field.

Maybe Hardy is a better example right now for Gregory, as the veteran is learning the hard way that talent will only get you so many chances. It’s best not to squander those limited opportunities with immature or even illegal mistakes.

Next: Will the Dallas Cowboys double-dip in the draft?

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