Sep 17, 2014 1:34 PM

Hardy leaves Panthers' facility, status unclear

The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Greg Hardy did not practice with the Panthers and left the stadium in street clothes with his agent Drew Rosenhaus while awaiting a decision on his playing status regarding his domestic violence case.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera was 20 minutes late arriving to practice and said that Hardy would not participate in workouts as he walked past reporters.

Rivera didn't say whether he had spoken with Hardy, if he would play Sunday night against Pittsburgh or if he had been placed on the exempt-commissioner's permission list, which would entail the Pro Bowl defensive end being deactivated until the case is resolved.

Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats. He is appealing the ruling and a jury trial is set for Nov. 17.

With security around the stadium amped up, Hardy and Rosenhaus emerged from the team's facility, stepped into the player's Bentley and drove away. Earlier, two police officers on motorcycles guarded the entrance to the team's practice facility.

Hardy had been scheduled to practice Wednesday.

Rivera said in a press conference Monday that Hardy would continue to practicing and attending team meetings this week but called the situation "very fluid." The coach also said at that time that the Panthers hadn't decided on whether Hardy would be allowed to play Sunday night.

That was before the Minnesota Vikings did an about face early Wednesday and placed Adrian Peterson on the commissioner's exempt list amid public pressure and concerned sponsors.

Hardy, who was tagged as the team's franchise player this offseason and signed a one-year, $13.1 million deal, is Carolina's top pass rusher.

He earns more than $770,000 each week during the regular season.

He tied a franchise record with 15 sacks last season and has 26 in in his last 32 games.

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and general manager Dave Gettleman have been repeatedly turned down interview requests during the Hardy ordeal, instead allowing all information to come through Rivera.

Rivera said Monday that Gettleman and his staff are "doing their due diligence in terms of looking at what our options are" going forward. He also indicated at the time the league was involved in the process.

Rivera also said Monday the Panthers are trying to be careful not to be reactionary.

"That is why we have to sit down and talk about these things," Rivera said. "And we did the same thing (on Sunday). We talked about a lot of things and at the end of the day I had to make a decision that I believe was in the best interest of our football team and for Greg."


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