Panther defensive end Greg Hardy was arrested Tuesday on misdemeanor charges of communicating threats and assaulting a female. Here's the news story. The Panthers quickly issued a statement saying: "We are very disappointed to learn of the allegations involving Greg and are concerned for all parties as we continue to investigate."
Like anyone, Hardy is innocent until proven guilty. But when one of the team's five best players gets arrested in Charlotte and has a mugshot that quickly has found its way all over online, that's going to make major news, and that's exactly the kind of news the Panthers don't need.
Hardy, who calls himself the "Kraken" in a nod to to the mythological sea monster, has had behavioral and maturity issues before. That's part of the reason he lasted until the sixth round of the 2010 draft despite otherworldly athletic ability. Hardy also had a bad motorcycle accident on the eve of the 2011 training camp, which cost him most of that preseason.
He was spectacular in 2013 for Carolina, with 15 sacks and his first Pro Bowl appearance. The 15 sacks tied a team record and represented a fourth of the Panthers' 60-sack total, which led the NFL. The Panthers responded by giving Hardy their "franchise tag," which guaranteed him a $13.1-million salary this season if he doesn't reach a long-term extension with the team.