IRVING, Texas – Greg Hardy is on hand and active for the start of the Cowboys' OTAs, but he'll be absent Thursday when he heads to Washington D.C. for the appeal of his 10-game suspension.
It's unclear when a verdict will be reached, but it will at least begin the process of resolving the issue. It's been almost a year since Hardy was found guilty of assault and communicating threats against his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, and it has been three months since the charges were dismissed when Holder chose not to cooperate with authorities during his trial.
The Cowboys signed the 2013 Pro Bowler in March, and he was suspended for 10 games on April 23.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has given the appeal to Harold Henderson, who upheld the commissioner's ruling in the Adrian Peterson case last fall.
This looks likely to be the final milestone in determining Hardy's availability for this season. For the time being, he is eligible to participate in all offseason workouts, training camp and the preseason – but he won't be available for a game until Thanksgiving, against Carolina.
The Cowboys have said from the time they signed Hardy that they were prepared for any disciplinary action the league levied.
"I don't think it turned out any different than what we thought might could happen," said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones on April 28. "I think we structured a contract to deal with that and we knew very well something could. Our eyes were wide open on that."
Despite that, the Cowboys would undoubtedly prefer to see a reduced suspension for their premiere free agency acquisition. Dallas signed Hardy to a one-year, low-risk contract on March 18. The deal comes with no guarantees and pays the six-year veteran just $750,000 in base salaries, but it is loaded with up to $9.2 million in per-game bonuses.
If Hardy does in fact miss 10 games, the Cowboys will save roughly $5.78 million on the contract.
Hardy combined for 27 sacks during the 2012 and 2013 seasons with Carolina. He played in just one game during the 2014 season before he was placed on the commissioner's exempt list while his legal issues played out.
Despite sitting out for almost all of last season, he was still paid the entirety of his $13 million franchise tag.