Panthers remove DE Greg Hardy from active roster

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Panthers remove DE Greg Hardy from active roster
Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) reacts in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
DE Greg Hardy among #Panthers inactives for home opener vs. Detroit: http://t.co/C2rK4Tbj3X
Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) reacts in the first half of their NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy, right, signs autographs after an NFL football practice at their training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy runs a drill during an NFL football practice at their training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy, right, arrives with agent Drew Rosenhaus at the Mecklenburg County courthouse in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, July 15, 2014, for Hardy's domestic assault trial, . (AP Photo/Chuck Burton
Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy runs onto the field at the start of an NFL football practice Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
FILE - In this Dec. 29, 2013, file photo, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) sits on the bench during the second half of an NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. The NFL is allowing two more NFL players to continue playing while facing domestic violence issues. Similar to the Ray Rice case, the league says it investigating and waiting for the legal process to run its course before taking action. Greg Hardy already has been convicted on two counts of domestic violence, but has filed an appeal. Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers also remains active while he is being investigated for abuse allegations. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)
Carolina Panthers' defensive end Greg Hardy (76) returns a crate of Gatorade to the sidelines during an NFL football organized team activity in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, May 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Carolina Panthers NFL football defensive end Greg Hardy leaves the Mecklenburg County jail after being released on bond in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Hardy was arrested Tuesday and charged with assault on a female and communicating threats. (AP Photo)
This photo provided by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department shows Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy after his arrest in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Hardy was arrested for assault on a female and communicating threats, according to Charlotte Mecklenburg police. Hardy turned himself into Mecklenburg County police on Tuesday morning. (AP Photo/Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)
Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy waves to a fan during NFL football practice at training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy, right, tries to get past Amini Silatolu, center, as he scuffles with Byron Bell, rear left, during an NFL football training camp practice in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, July 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy, right, drives against Frank Alexander, left, during the NFL football team's minicamp practice in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, June 11, 2013. The Panthers outspoken fourth-year player said Tuesday he plans to report to training camp on time and play this season even if he doesn't get a new contract from the Panthers. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) is sacked by Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) and Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (95) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Carolina Panthers defensive end, Greg Hardy faces reporter's microphones, tape recorders and questions as he joins teammates in clearing out the locker room for the final time this season in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy smiles at fans as he arrives for an NFL football practice in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Hardy has been convicted on two counts of domestic violence and is still playing. Though he has already been found guilty, the league is sticking by its policy to wait until the appeal process has been heard before making any decision on a possible suspension. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 08: Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of a loss to the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium on August 8, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Buffalo won 20-18. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy walks into the Mecklenburg County Courthouse on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 in Charlotte, N.C. Hardy is scheduled to be in court to face charges that he beat up his ex-girlfriend during an altercation at his residence in May. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy walks into the Mecklenburg County Courthouse on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 in Charlotte, N.C. Hardy is scheduled to be in court to face charges that he beat up his ex-girlfriend during an altercation at his residence in May. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 12: Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers runs onto the field during player introductions against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 15: Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers against the New York Jets during play at Bank of America Stadium on December 15, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 30-20. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy waves to fans as he arrives for an NFL football practice in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Hardy has been convicted on two counts of domestic violence and is still playing. Though he has already been found guilty, the league is sticking by its policy to wait until the appeal process has been heard before making any decision on a possible suspension. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 15: Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers against the New York Jets during play at Bank of America Stadium on December 15, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 30-20. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 28: Defensive lineman Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers looks on from the sideline during a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on August 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Panthers defeated the Steelers 10-0. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 22: CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints is sacked by Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 12: Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 18: Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates after a play against the New England Patriots at Bank of America Stadium on November 18, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Greg Hardy (76) of the Carolina Panthers sacks Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during first-quarter action at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 22: Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) and St. Louis Rams guard Harvey Dahl (62) get into a skirmish during fourth-quarter action at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday, October 20, 2013. Panthers won, 30-15. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 09: Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers against the Chicago Bears during a preseason NFL game at Bank of America Stadium on August 9, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 24-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy, right, pressures Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles into an interception during the first half in preseason action at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, August 15, 2013. (David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy laughs with a young fan as the team signs autographs for military members and families after Cowboys' arrival at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu for training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on Tuesday, July 28, 2015. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy looks on during an NFL football organized team activity, Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
FILE - This is a 2015, file photo showing Greg Hardy of the Dallas Cowboys NFL football team. Dallas defensive end Greg Hardy's suspension for his role in a domestic violence case has been reduced from 10 games to four. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy announced arbitrator Harold Henderson's decision Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2015, file photo, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) talks with teammates on the sideline during a preseason NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in Arlington, Texas. Several teams will be missing key players when the NFL season kicks off this weekend. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)
Carolina Panthers' Wes Horton runs a drill during NFL football minicamp in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The Panthers will rely on a young rotation of defensive ends to replace Greg Hardy, who was not re-signed this offseason as a free agent after the former Pro Bowl selection missed most of last season while dealing with a domestic abuse case. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 11: Defensive end Greg Hardy #76 of the Dallas Cowboys on the sidelines before a game against the New England Patriots at AT&T Stadium on October 11, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Panthers finally made a decision on Greg Hardy: the Pro Bowl defensive end will not play anymore games for Carolina until his domestic violence case is resolved.

The team removed Hardy from its active roster Wednesday, ending three weeks of indecision regarding his playing status. He played Week 1, sat out Week 2 and there was uncertainty about this week.

So the Panthers placed Hardy on the exempt-commissioner's permission list just hours after the Vikings took a similar disciplinary approach with Adrian Peterson. The Minnesota running back is addressing child abuse charges in Texas.

Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats after the victim said the 6-foot-4, 275-pound player threw her in the bathtub and onto a sofa covered with guns before threatening to kill her. Hardy is appealing the ruling and a jury trial is set for Nov. 17.

He will continue to be paid his weekly salary of $770,588.23. Hardy also is allowed to be at the team facility, but will not practice.

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said it was a tough decision given the changing climate in the NFL.

"Our overriding goal has always been to do the right thing," Gettleman said.

The GM said he expects Hardy to be out at least through November.
What's Next For Greg Hardy


Hardy said he understands he needs to step away from football and take care of his legal problems.

"I am entitled to due process and my day in court, and that's where my focus should be," Hardy said in a statement. "I appreciate the Panthers for giving me this opportunity and look forward to being back with my teammates. I am disappointed to leave my teammates and the Carolina Panthers 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."

Had Hardy not taken a the leave of absence with pay, he likely would have faced an unpaid suspension from the league.

The NFL Players Association released a statement Wednesday saying, "Today, Greg Hardy made a decision to take a voluntary leave of absence to resolve his pending legal issue. The NFLPA and NFL worked with Greg, his representatives and the Carolina Panthers on this matter. We support this decision and hope the best for him and his family."

Earlier Wednesday, with security around the stadium amped up, Hardy and his agent Drew 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.

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

The coach later said he had a 90-minute conversation with the defensive end to make sure Hardy was in a good place.

"Greg's hurt, he really is," Rivera said. "It's a tough situation and he knows he put himself in it. He was apologetic."

Rivera said he expects Hardy to take a few days away and return to the team "in due time."

"He's still a part of this football team," Rivera said.

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

Rivera activated Hardy for the season opener against Tampa Bay, but then abruptly deactivated him before Sunday's game against Detroit - a move Gettleman supported.

"At that time we felt it was at the right thing to do," Gettleman said. "It's constantly changing. There is no rule book for this. There's no magic list we can hit checkboxes that bring us to the right answer."

Rivera said he informed the team at a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Veteran safety Roman Harper said Wednesday during open locker room that every team has to battle adversity at some point, but said losing Hardy will hurt.

Harper said unbeaten Panthers will miss Hardy's pass rush skills and energy. "You take a player of his caliber off the field and it is going to affect us," Harper said. "But at the end of the day you can't use that as an excuses or a crutch. You have to fly around and make plays as a defense. We understand what we will be missing, but at the end of the day we still have a job to do."

Tight end Greg Olsen said the Panthers are doing their best to focus on the Steelers.

"You learn very fast in this league that there are going to be a lot of outside factors," Olsen said. "You have to do the best you can not to let those things impact your preparations and really focus on what you can control. The most successful teams just worry about the here and now and what they can control."

Rivera said he believes the team handled the situation in the best way possible.

"The biggest thing we have to do is get this right," Rivera said. "In all honesty we're worried about the wrong types of things. We're trying to figure out who we need to blame. We don't need to blame people, we need to find answers and corrections and make things right... We have to come up with solutions to make sure this doesn't happen again."

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