Transcript of Greg Hardy’s Sunday Meeting with the Media

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Panthers official: ”No questions regarding the case that’s undergoing a legal process, or questions that are peripherally related to that case. They have to be football questions in order for him to answer.”

Media: “How are you doing?

GH: “Good. Just excited to be at camp. Glad to be back into football season.”

M: “Last night when fans were shouting encouragement or say something nice to you, you seemed to go out of your way to acknowledge them. Was that important to you?”

GH: “Just being me.”

M: “How has the fan support been for you?”

GH: “Same as always. Just out here, having a good time, enjoying the heat.”

M: “How anxious are you to just get out on the football field. Full pads today. Just to get back to work. Put some things behind you?”

GH: “I’d much rather be in helmets.”

M: “How difficult has the past month or two been for you?”

GH: “I can’t answer questions like that, man.”

M: “Being back on the football field in general. Being able to focus on that. How much better does that make things for you?

GH: “I can’t answer that question.”

M: “Last year you told us you set a goal for 58 sacks in a season. Have you set a number like that this year?”

GH: “I like that number still. I feel like it was a good, solid whole number. And I’m going to shoot for it again. And I want to say this time I’m shooting for it, so everybody knows I didn’t say I’m going to get 58, but I am going to shoot for 58.”

M: “Can this defense be better?”

G: “Most definitely. We’ve gelled this offseason and we’re going to gel during camp. And hopefully the heat and the stress on the hitting, and the new guys and everything, will bring them up to speed and take it to a whole other level, and advance on it and get back to it.”

M: “Obviously it’s tough to tell without the pads so far, but what have you seen out of Nate and Byron when they switch at left tackle?”

GH: “I see guys learning a new position, which is hard. I’ve said all the time, it’s hard to play one position, but to play a whole other position and actually excel and to learn is a big deal. And that’s inspirational, two guys that can come in and have a great attitude, let alone work as hard as they are working to dominate the position is inspiring to me. So I’m looking forward to what they can do in pads and the season.”

M: “Are they able to contain you?”

GH: “Nobody can contain me.”

M: “What did it mean to get the franchise tag this year?”

GH: “Awesome. I get to stay another year. Hang out with my guys, play some football. Nothing really matters other than that, right?”

M: “What about your long-term future here?”

GH: “We’re going to see. Play a good season, and hopefully when you go talk to Mr. Gettleman you can convince him to keep me.”

M: “Do you want to stay here long-term?”

GH: “Yeah. I love this place. It’s a great atmosphere. Love the ownership, love the teammates. I’ve had a great five years here, so, this is where I’m at.”

M: “Do you feel like this season is an opportunity for you to prove your value to the organization?”

GH: “It’s an every year thing. I don’t really go on a yearly basis. I wake up in the morning, wash my hands and get to work because that’s what we have to do to be excellent, to be better than anyone else. That doesn’t change with the contract situation.”

M: “Have you talked to your teammates, just to clear the air? And what kind of support have you felt from them?”

GH: “I can’t answer that question.”

M: “Are you concerned the events of the last couple months would hurt your ability to stay here?”

GH: “I can’t answer that question.”

M: “Last year, you had the best pass rush in football. Then you add a guy like Kony Ealy. Talk about how that shores up the defensive line even more.”

GH: “You honestly want to set a standard. We want to race against ourselves. Be better than we were last year. We gotta step our game up and create another level to surpass. So that’s what we’re doing this year. We’re going to teach him, get him up to speed, and add on to our ability and our skill and our nasty tenacity to get to the quarterback. And it’s going to continue.”

M: “With your sack total, with the Pro Bowl, with the franchise tag, do you feel nationally, that you’re getting the respect that you’ve always deserved?”

GH: “You guys do a really good job of putting me out there, so I appreciate that. I feel like I’m doing awesome. Always got good quotes. ‘No spoon,’ appreciate that guys. I feel like I’m where I need to be. It’s a good organization. It’s a good city. It’s good media. Everybody’s been awesome around me. I feel like that’s just me playing football and being good at what I do.”

M: “To have that support, what’s that mean to you?”

GH: “What kind?”

M: “Just in general. You’re talking about the support you’ve had.”

GH: “Oh, from you guys? You guys are awesome.”

M: “No, not just from us.”

GH: “I’ve got t-shirt deals. I’ve got hats coming out, toboggans. All kinds of things. I love it.”

M: “When you’re chasing Cam around, how’s he moving, how’s he looking so far?”

GH: “Like Cam, which means a lot to me. Him sitting out, I really wasn’t worried about because he is a great athlete. He has serious, serious learning skills. I always see him in the locker room late, I always see him in the film room running around, doing his thing. Just to see him out here putting all that together and knowing that he’s still doing his thing gives me a lot of faith in him, and we believe in him. So we’re going to see.”

M: “Understanding the limitations of this interview, this is a team-related question. Do you feel like you’ve been a distraction for the team?”

GH: “I hate that I have distracted my team, but other than that, I can’t really answer that question.”

M: “Did you apologize to them, Greg?”

GH: “I can’t answer that question. It’s a team thing. We’ll keep it inside.”

M: “Where do you think you can get better this year?”

GH: “Everywhere. No bounds to what we’ve got to do this year. Limitations is not kind of my thing. There is no roof, so we’re just going to keep finding areas to get better, and as soon as I find a way to correct it and dig on it, you know, coach Washington is really good at that.”



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