Greg Hardy admits being a distraction for Carolina Panthers

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Greg Hardy was probably paying close attention to the punishment the NFL handed down to Ray Rice last week.

Hardy, the All-Pro defensive end of the Carolina Panthers, is awaiting word from Commissioner Roger Goodell about his possible punishment after being convicted of assault against a female and communicating threats earlier this month following an incident with a former girlfriend back in May.

Suspended Jail Sentence

Hardy was sentenced to 18 months on probation and 60 days in jail, but his jail sentence was suspended.

Hardy met with the media on Sunday before the Panthers began workouts at training camp, but didn't address his legal troubles. He admitted that his actions have been a distraction to his teammates and the Panthers organization.

Distracted the Team

"I hate that I have distracted my team," Hardy told reporters. "Other than that I can't answer that question."

It was the first time Hardy has spoken with the media since the incident, and he wanted to keep the answers he gave to football-related questions because of the pending legal and league-related disciplinary ramifications.

Hardy, who likes to flaunt his nickname "The Kraken", led the team with 15 sacks last season and was one of the keys to the team's second-ranked defense.

The Panthers have said that they will won't discipline Hardy until the NFL hands down its punishment first.

Hardy was the team's franchise designee this season and will make $13.1 million. He can become a free agent after this season, and general manager Dave Gettleman is coy about the team's plans regarding Hardy.

Concerning and Disappointing

Gettleman said in a news conference last week that Hardy's situation was "concerning and disappointing." 

"I don't mean to make light of it," Gettleman said. "Let's take one step at a time."

Hardy is ready to put the situation behind him and get back to the field. Rice was suspended for two games last week and docked one game check. Expect Hardy's punishment to be along the same lines.

Hardy did say he would like to stay in Carolina, but he'll have to wait and see what the season holds.

"Play a good season, and hopefully when you talk to Mr. Gettleman you can convince him to keep me," Hardy said. "I love this place. It's a great atmosphere. I love the ownership. I love my teammates. I've had a great five years here, so it's where I'm at."

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