The Dallas Cowboys were publicly ridiculed for having troublesome players on their roster last season, but it appears "America's Team" is working hard to repair their image in 2016. Owner Jerry Jones made headlines last season when he signed Greg Hardy, describing him as a "real leader," but now it appears the defensive end may have played his last game for Dallas.
According to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, the Cowboys won’t re-sign Hardy for next season. Hardy played on a one-year deal after being suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for his role in a 2014 domestic violence incident.
In a dismal 4-12 season for the Cowboys, Hardy was one of the most productive players on Dallas. He totaled six sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in 12 games. Hardy had 15 sacks as a Pro-Bowl selection in 2013, and he only played one game in 2014 after a judge found him guilty on two counts of assault.
During the season, Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones said the team “absolutely” wanted to re-sign Hardy in the offseason. Hardy, however, continued to make headlines, namely when pictures of his beaten ex-girlfriend were released.
But Dallas isn't completely done with players with off-the-field incidents. Defensive end Randy Gregory hasn’t been involved with anything to the level of Hardy’s transgressions, but he has been suspended for the first four games of next season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Jones has called the news a “disappointment,” though the team is standing behind last year’s second-round pick.
"You have to be concerned," Stephen Jones told The Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. "That's the risk you get when you go there. It's all about that risk-reward deal, but at the end of the day, we got the infrastructure in place to continue to help him. We think he's utilizing it, but at the same time, it's disappointing that we had this go far enough that it resulted in a suspension."
During the 2015 season, the Cowboys did release one player with behavior problems, cutting running back Joseph Randle in early November. Randle had been facing a suspension due to a domestic violence call from his son's mother, though he was cleared legally of any wrongdoing. The 24-year-old faces more legal problems, however, having been jailed for an incident Sunday in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas.
Randle broke into a house after hitting two men and one woman with a car while backing out of a driveway, according to local police. The incident reportedly began when Randle got into an argument at a housewarming party. He was arrested for aggravated battery, possession of drugs and criminal damage to property. The three people were not seriously injured.
After cutting ties with Randle and with Hardy expected to leave, the Cowboys are not expected to take a chance on quarterback Johnny Manziel. The former Texas A&M star had reportedly been admired by Jerry Jones entering the 2014 NFL Draft, and there were rumblings the Cowboys were interested in signing the former Cleveland Browns backup.
But Manziel's NFL future is in limbo after domestic violence allegations in January from former girlfriend Colleen Crowley. Sources told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Manziel was “never on their radar” as the club seeks a backup to 35-year-old starting quarterback Tony Romo.