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Panthers’ Hardy named NFC Defensive Player of the Week

For his team-record four-sack effort in the win against Atlanta, Pro Bowl-bound defensive end Greg Hardy won his second NFC Defensive Player of the Week honor this season.

Hardy sacked Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan four times last week in Carolina’s 21-20 victory that clinched the NFC South and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs for the Panthers.

Hardy finished the regular season with 15 sacks, tying a team record set by Kevin Greene in 1998.

“He’s been practicing that way the last few weeks. You ask his teammates about how well he’s been practicing,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Monday. “It’s almost scary because he’s flying around like that on Fridays as well. So there’s something that’s kind of clicked in him right now and he’s done a heck of a job.”

His four sacks were among nine on the day for Carolina, the most in team history.

It’s the fifth NFC Defensive Player of the Week honor for the Panthers this year, making Carolina only the third NFC team to accomplish it after the 1992 Vikings and 2000 Saints.

Hardy was selected for the same honor in Week 3 after a three-sack game against the Giants. Other winners include linebacker Thomas Davis after a two-sack, one-interception game against the Vikings and two-time winner Luke Kuechly for his efforts against San Francisco and two weeks ago against the Saints.

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