Jason Garrett constantly talks about the right kind of guy.
It’s a phrase he won’t use about Greg Hardy. Instead, the Dallas Cowboys head coach talks about the defensive end becoming the right kind of guy.
Garrett made his first public comments about the signing of Hardy this (Monday) afternoon from the NFL Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. Garrett addressed whether or not it was hypocritical of him to sign Hardy given his emphasis on character. He spoke of the club’s obligation to make this work, Hardy’s need to be accountable and a contract Garrett believes will allow this to happen.
“First off, we understand the seriousness of domestic violence,’’ Garrett said. “We obviously aren’t for domestic violence, so let’s get that out at the start.
“If we didn’t believe that Greg Hardy could become the right kind of guy we would not have signed him. We have a lot of confidence in the environment that we create for our players to bring the best out in them.
“Now, it’s on us to do our jobs to create the environment to bring the best out in him as a player on the field and as a person off the field. We believe based on all the research we’ve done, all the due diligence we’ve done that he can become the right kind of guy for our team.
“It is also Greg Hardy’s responsibility.’’
Garrett said the Dallas Cowboys organization will hold Hardy accountable.
“We made decisions with players in the past who we also believe can become the right kind of guy,’’ Garrett said. “In some cases, we’ve had real success stories because of the environment we created and how the player responded. In other cases, we made a decision to bring someone in believing he’d become the right kind of guy and it turned out he wasn’t able to do that and we moved on. We move on as quickly as we can.
“If you think about the contract we structured with Greg Hardy, there is great freedom for us to make the right decision for our football team at any time if we don’t feel like he’s becoming the right kind of guy. We can hold him accountable that way.’’
The bottom line: Hardy agreed to a one-year, incentive-laced contract that can escalate up to $13.1 million based on the number of games he plays and sacks he accrues. None of the payout is guaranteed and it’s improbable he’ll come close to the maximum.
Garrett called the decision to sign Hardy a collective one by the organization. The player spent two days at the club’s practice facility last week before a contract was signed.
“I made it very clear to him right from the outset of our conversation that we were not recruiting him,’’ Garrett said. “We were finding out about him.
“The picture we painted: there were a lot of positive things, there were different things that were red flags in his background that we were able to get our arms around and say we provide the right atmosphere. We pride ourselves on that. I pride myself on that.
“If we provide the right atmosphere for this guy, we believe we can bring the best out in him and he can be the right kind of guy for us. We made that conclusion and we went ahead and made the signing.’’
JASON GARRETT: If Hardy couldn’t become the “Right Kind Of Guy” we wouldn’t have signed him
JASON GARRETT: It’s important to create the right environment for our players to succeed on and off the field
OL ‘BOY TROY: Aikman – Hardy can become advocate of change
During the Dallas Cowboys last golden age, quarterback Troy Aikman and fullback Daryl Johnston played alongside teammates who experienced their share of off-the-field problems. So what did the two ex-NFL players think of Dallas’ decision to sign controversial defensive end Greg Hardy? Each gave his thoughts on the subject at Gleneagles Country Club, where the Katy Trail Ice House Invitational benefiting the Friends of the Katy Trail organization.
“The Greg Hardy signing has evoked a lot of emotion from a lot of people,” Aikman said. “I don’t know the details of what happened. I’ve got daughters. I understand what domestic violence is. There is no place for it. He’s here because he is a pass rusher, no matter what else is said about it. I am hopeful that whatever did happen he’s learned from it and maybe he can be an advocate to create some change.”
Still, Aikman knows the Cowboys were motivated by Hardy’s outstanding talent level. That potential lead to a rationale to give Hardy a chance to make amends.
“The Cowboys have done that a lot, but they have also done it with the backdrop that those players were good players,” he said. “Let’s be honest: Nobody is going to kid themselves with someone who is not a good player in the same situations. I don’t know. But I think it is a real slippery slope when you start and you get involved as to whether or not you deny someone the opportunity to make a living. We all make mistakes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to go out there and do what you do and earn a living. But I understand the reaction to it.
“Like I said, there is no place for it….I do think the way people have reacted to the signing, I don’t know if four or five years ago the reaction would have been as strong. So from that standpoint, improvements have been made and there have been strides positively in bringing awareness to this that hopefully can change what’s going on.”
MOOSE’ CALL: Johnston believes community actions can lead to redemption
Daryl Johnston figured Hardy’s addition would be met with resistance in Dallas, where Mayor Mike Rawlings has campaigned strongly against domestic violence and made it a platform issue during his administration.
“When it happened you knew there was going to be some pushback,” Johnston said. “I think we all underestimated how much there would be. I think it’s unique to the city of Dallas. We have a mayor who had a gathering two years ago on this topic specifically before it became big in the NFL. Mayor Rawlings was way ahead of the game on this one.
“We talk about zero tolerance. But then you have the other side, where people are talking about second chance opportunities, redemption. Greg Hardy is going to have to show the community of Dallas that he has changed. I think it is going to be important for him to become active with The Family Place, with Genesis Women Shelter. He’s got to show everybody he now understands what he did — and it is completely unacceptable in today’s society — and do things be proactive on this issue. So everything is up to him now. But I think he has got to get out in front of this. He can’t just come in here and be a football player. He’s got to come in here be a football player and be productive on the field but he also has to start being somebody who people can look at and say, ‘OK, I do understand why we talk about redemption and we talk about second-chance opportunities because look at what Greg Hardy has done on this topic, in this community.’”
Video of Aikman and Johnston discussing the Hardy signing.