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Panthers DE Greg Hardy not worrying about new deal

By Jonathan Jones
jjones@charlotteobserver.com

It’s difficult to tell what goes on inside the head of Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy.

But as far as a new contract goes, it’s out of sight and out of mind for the outspoken Hardy.

“Yeah, you can’t think about it,” Hardy said Tuesday after the first practice at mandatory minicamp. “That’s what I have an agent for. That’s not really my job.”

There has been no indication the Panthers have approached Hardy, a fourth-year defensive end entering the final year of his rookie contract, about re-signing him before the season. Hardy’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, approached the Panthers about an extension for his client during the offseason.

Hardy, coming off a career-high 11 sacks last year, said he doesn’t want to know about the behind-the-scenes negotiations, if there are any, before the year begins.

“I told my agent don’t even tell me,” Hardy said. “I feel like it’s hard to play and practice and be an agent for yourself at the same time. I’m going to come out here and do my part and I’ll let him do his part.”

Hardy said he attended six of the Panthers’ 10 voluntary organized team activities, missing four of them because of “personal family matters” both in and out of town. As previously reported, his absence was not related to any contract holdout, he confirmed Tuesday.

Among other topics discussed, Hardy has dubbed the Carolina defensive line “Monsters Inc.” after the Disney Pixar animated film. Hardy has gone by the nickname Kraken, after the mythical sea creature, and he named fellow defensive end Charles Johnson the Loch Ness Monster.

GINN FLASHES: If there’s a minicamp highlight reel, newcomer Ted Ginn Jr. made the first entries Tuesday.

Ginn, a seventh-year receiver in his first season with the Panthers, made a one-handed catch and later hauled in two deep balls from Cam Newton and couldn’t be caught.

Ginn, acquired by Carolina in the offseason with a one-year deal, streaked down the right sideline and caught a Newton pass over his shoulder before using his speed – he ran a 4.28 40 coming out of college – to get away from cornerback Josh Thomas.

“It’s kind of part of the reason he’s here,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “With his speed he can blow the top off the coverage and he’s showing it. He’s going. And I think it’ll help us as far as some of the complementary routes that we’ll have.”

INJURY UPDATES: After surgeries on both his ankles shortly after the 2012 season, running back Jonathan Stewart won’t see any action until at least training camp in August.

Stewart was hobbled by ankle injuries from the start of the season and missed two of the first three games as well as the final five games of the season.

“He had both ankles done in the offseason and he’s probably right along the lines of where he needs to be,” Rivera said. “The hard part is any time you have both of them done – whether it’s two ankles, two knees, two hips, two shoulders, whatever – it’s going to be a while. And we know that.” ...

Wide receiver Domenik Hixon, acquired by the team this offseason, tweaked his hamstring last week and will likely sit for the remainder of minicamp, Rivera said. Hixon missed all but two games of the 2010 and 2011 seasons after tearing his right ACL twice. He also missed time last season with an ankle injury.

Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9
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