Could Nick Fairley become the most significant wasted talent of the last 5 years?

mdmellow
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18: Nick Fairley
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18: Nick Fairley /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – DECEMBER 16: Greg Hardy
SAN DIEGO, CA – DECEMBER 16: Greg Hardy /

No. 5:    Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy was at the top of his game in 2014. He was coming off an amazing two-year run, compiling 26 sacks and 141 QB pressures in 31 games. He and Luke Kuechly were the undisputed leaders of the formidable Panthers defense, fresh off the back of a 12-4 campaign (and a Pro Bowl appearance for Hardy) in 2013. They looked ready to establish themselves as the new super power in the NFC South.

Then in May 2014, Hardy was arrested and charged with assault against his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder. Deadspin ran an article recounting the disturbing details of the night in question. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Hardy allegedly slammed Holder into a wall, threw her into a tiled bath, dragged her out by her hair, and threw her down on a couch littered with loaded assault rifles. She claimed that throughout the ordeal he had choked her with both hands and threatened to kill her.

CHARLOTTE, NC – CIRCA 2010: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers NFL Saturday, May 1, 2010 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)
CHARLOTTE, NC – CIRCA 2010: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers NFL Saturday, May 1, 2010 when this image was taken. (AP Photo) /

Judge Becky Thorne Tin found Hardy guilty two months later of assault on a female and communicating threats. Hardy appealed, and in February 2015 the case was dropped. Holder was a no-show in court, making it impossible to prosecute Hardy. The fact that Hardy’s legal team had reached a settlement with Holder also worked in his favor.

Hardy has remained indifferent to the domestic violence allegations that were leveled at him in 2014. Even when graphic photos were released of Nicole Holder’s injuries from the night of the incident, Hardy coldly stated;

“Pictures are pictures and they can be made to look like whatever they want to.”

Hardy spent almost the entirety of the 2014 season on the NFL’s Exempt List, and the Panthers let Hardy walk when his franchise tag expired that year. He signed a one-year free-agent deal with the Cowboys in March 2015. And after an additional league-imposed 4 game suspension, he was back to football.

ARLINGTON, TX – NOVEMBER 08: Greg Hardy
ARLINGTON, TX – NOVEMBER 08: Greg Hardy /

He played in 12 games for the Cowboys in 2015, but his controversial comments and erratic behavior caused problems for the team and they decided not to re-sign him. He hasn’t played a down of football since.

His descent from premier NFL defender to unwanted castaway presented again in September last year when he was arrested on a felony drug charge during a traffic stop. He ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge.

Ultimately, Greg Hardy ruined his already-slim chances at another last shot in the NFL.

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