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Sunday's roundup: Hardy free agency might have to wait

Detroit News wire services

After botching the Ray Rice investigation by failing to obtain a copy of the infamous video of the former Ravens running back knocking out his then-fiancee, the NFL is trying to ensure its investigation of Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is more thorough.

As a result, any team pondering whether to sign Hardy as a free agent might have to wait a while before learning if, or for how many games, Hardy is suspended.

The league filed a motion Friday asking Hardy's case file be unsealed, arguing because the charges against Hardy were dismissed last week, the contents of the file should no longer be considered classified.

Lisa Friel, a former New York City sex crimes prosecutor who is leading the NFL's investigation of Hardy, also presumably wants to look at the transcript from Hardy's bench trial in July.

However, that transcript isn't in the file. Chris Fialko, Hardy's attorney, hired a court reporter to take the transcription in district court. Fialko would not say last week whether the league has requested the transcript or if he would provide it if asked.

The most enlightening portion of the file could be the dozens of photographs showing the injuries to Hardy's ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder, who testified Hardy dragged her around his condo, tossed her into a tub and threw her on to a futon covered with semi-automatic weapons.

Hardy will remain in limbo until the NFL reaches a decision, which still is expected before the start of free agency on March 10.

If Hardy is suspended — the baseline is six games for domestic abuse violations under the league's new personal conduct policy — the players' union almost certainly will file a grievance, which would further delay the process and potentially drive down Hardy's market value.

Meanwhile, Panthers players continue to lobby — publicly and privately — for Carolina's front office to give Hardy another chance.

The team has given no indication it plans to re-sign Hardy, who made $13.1 million last season while playing in one game.

Namath endorses Brady

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath praises Patriots QB Tom Brady as the best to have ever played the game.

"I have a hard time calling anybody in any sport 'the best' because of the changes in the game, certainly, and because of the greats that were ahead of them," Namath said.

"But I will say, no one has ever played the game better than Tom Brady."