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Panthers teammate on Greg Hardy: “It’s bigger than football”

Drew Brees, Greg Hardy, Dwan Edwards

New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees, center, tries to pass as he is hit by Carolina Panthers’ Greg Hardy, right, and Dwan Edwards, left, in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. The Panthers won 17-13. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

AP

Before the Falcons or the 49ers ever made it clear they weren’t pursuing free agent defensive end Greg Hardy, the Panthers decided they weren’t going to.

And while players there might miss the guy who had 15.0 sacks in 2013, they also know the reason he’s not coming back is because of the domestic violence charges (which were ultimately thrown out) that cost the team $13.1 million for one game last year.

That’s why, according to veteran defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, there’s an understanding of owner Jerry Richardson’s stance.

“That’s never a good topic to talk about when you talk about domestic violence and what happened. It’s tough. It seems like we as players and coaches and maybe even Carolina Panthers fans were the only ones that were punished,” Edwards said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “He obviously still got paid, and now they’re still saying he hasn’t been punished. It’s a weird deal.

“But I understand Mr. Richardson and his feelings on that. I have a wife and two daughters as well, and you just can’t have that associated with your brand.”

The Panthers still made the playoffs last year, despite having 10 percent of their salary cap tied up on the commissioner’s exempt list. And Edwards is convinced they can still be a good defense, even without Hardy.

“It’s bigger than football sometimes, bigger than wins and losses. I get that,” Edwards said.

When the dust settles and Hardy eventually finds another team, we’ll find out based on the terms of the contract if they agree.