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Panthers' Greg Hardy to be put on Exempt List

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The Carolina Panthers announced on Wednesday that defensive end Greg Hardy will be placed on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission List, following the lead of the Minnesota Vikings' handling of Adrian Peterson.

The Exempt List is the same one that Peterson landed on earlier in the day as he addresses the legal issues connected to an indictment on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child. The designation requires that Hardy remain away from all team activities while on the exempt list.

"Greg had the option to do this and he took it," Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said Wednesday. "This is what he chose. This is the option he chose."

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport first reported Wednesday the Panthers and Hardy's reps met to discuss potentially putting the fifth-year player on the list, according to a source involved in the process. Hardy subsequently left the Panthers facility with his agent Drew Rosenhaus and did not practice.

Hardy was arrested on charges of assault on a female and communicating threats in May. Hardy was found guilty by a judge on July 15 and requested a jury trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 17. Hardy's potential timetable for a return to the field in Carolina is uncertain. He was playing out a one-year contract as the team's franchise player that will pay him $13.1 million this season. He will continue to get paid while he's on the list.

Hardy played Week 1 as the organization cited allowing the legal process to play out as the reason for not sitting their defensive star. The franchise -- under increasing public scrutiny -- reversed course Sunday morning and deactivated Hardy for their Week 2 game. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said after the team's win over the Detroit Lions that the decision to deactivate Hardy was his.

The decision on Wednesday came from both parties. Gettleman admitted that it has been a difficult, disappointing process to navigate. 

"There is no rule book for this. Our overriding goal has always been to do the right thing," Gettleman said.

Rivera echoed that point further when addressing the media Wednesday.

"We're worried about the wrong things...trying to find out who to blame," said Rivera. "I hope people understand we're trying to get this right."

The NFL Players Association issued this statement following Wednesday's announcement:

"Today, Greg Hardy made a decision to take a voluntary leave of absence to resolve his pending legal issue. The NFLPA and NFL worked with Greg, his representatives and the Carolina Panthers on this matter. We support this decision and hope the best for him and his family."

"We support the decision that Greg Hardy and the Panthers made today," said the NFL in their own brief statement.

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