The NFL is as Darwinian an endeavor as there is in today's world. Generally speaking, if you can continue to perform important functions (like sacking quarterbacks) at a high level, many teams (in particular, the Dallas Cowboys) will overlook most off-the-field transgressions (up to and including a domestic assault conviction).
However, when the burden with which you encumber the team — be it a public relations debacle or a general string of football-related malfeasance — outweighs your productivity, teams will throw you out to the curb in between the Hefty bags of garbage and the recyclables bin.
Just ask Greg Hardy.
The former Dallas Cowboys defensive end was signed by owner Jerry Jones in 2015 for one sole purpose — tormenting opposing quarterbacks. That was something that Hardy had been able to do at a high level in Carolina for several years. However, he fell out of favor with the Panthers (and most of society not named Jerry Jones) when he was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend prior to the 2014 season, a transgression that caused him to miss most of that campaign. The conviction was eventually overturned when Hardy and his accuser reached a settlement, but the details from the arrest report are pretty harrowing; Hardy reportedly tossed his girlfriend onto a sofa full of guns.
None of this scared off the Cowboys, who thought that they could cash in on a depressed football asset with major upside, signing Hardy to an incentive-laden contract for 2015. As it turned out, not only was Greg Hardy still the same old bad football person he was in Carolina (late to meetings, truculent with the media), but he wasn't really that good at football anymore.
So, Darwinian law being Darwinian law and whatnot, Hardy was not seen as fit for survival as a Cowboy and the team decided to part ways with him after the 2015 season.
So now here we are in June, and in perhaps the first real sign that Hardy is finding out that "DAMN, there aren't any other jobs out there that pay millions of dollars to maim other human beings!" the former Cowboy and Panther has undergone a Twitter makeover, displaying a new do-good social media persona that would make J.J. Watt and John Cena blush with pride.
As it turns out, Hardy was previously functioning on Twitter under the mysterious and somewhat intimidating handle @OverlordKraken, and tweeting quite a bit about things like hip-hop and haters out there. His last tweet under the @OverlordKraken gimmick was an April 13 retweet of a Kobe Bryant jump shot.
Then Hardy disappeared from Twitter for two months. However, like a WWE character returning to Monday Night RAW with a new set of tights and zippier entrance music, a new and happier version of Greg Hardy returned to Twitter with this tweet:
Oh, good morning, @OverlordKraken! Wait, he's not @OverlordKraken anymore!
Greg Hardy is now just @GregHardyJr. He's a person, just like you and me. In fact, he is somebody's son, people...he is Greg Hardy Sr.'s son! Wow, let's look a little closer at this kinder, gentler Greg Hardy. Since returning to Twitter on June 15 with his new, cheery, hopefully-non-domestic-abusing persona, Hardy has tweeted about the following:
1. How diligently he's working out
Look at how far I ran today, NFL teams!
2. His youth football camps
Look at all these kids that I'm impacting, NFL teams!
3. How much he is "rising and grinding"....
Look how much I'm inspiring my Twitter followers by telling them to get their lazy asses out of bed like me, NFL teams!
4. How badly he wants other fathers out there to have a nice Father's Day!
Look at me, NFL teams! I got a kid, how bad a guy can I be? Look at my Twitter avi... isn't he cute?
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Hardy even changed the panoramic pic at the top of his Twitter page to one of him with a classroom full of kids to whom, I would assume, he was giving life lessons in "rising and grinding." This is all well and good for Hardy, this new persona. I hope he's able to maintain it, whether he ever plays football again or not.
However, at this point, Greg, I think your unemployment has more to do with your getting only three sacks in your final nine games of 2015 than it does with how pleasant a human being you seem to be on Twitter.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.