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Tom Sorensen: Now that the Greg Hardy issue has been resolved, at least temporarily, we can try something new – football.

Tom Sorensen: Carolina Panther coach Ron Rivera was talking and he was emotional and the longer he talked the more emotional he became. Of course, the subject was Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy.

I would like to have heard Sunday from general manager Dave Gettleman and, perhaps, owner Jerry Richardson. Neither man has addressed the issue to deactivate Hardy.

To say No. 97 carried the Carolina Panthers Sunday would be a slight exaggeration. But Mario Addison did spend the fourth quarter introducing himself to Carolina fans and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Although it’s unclear what happened between Friday and Sunday to change the Carolina Panthers’ stance on defensive end Greg Hardy, but it’s safe to assume team owner Jerry Richardson was prominently involved.

Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports have four drivers in NASCAR’s Chase, the season-ending playoffs for the Sprint Cup title, and that’s cause for celebration. But the real party could come at Homestead, in the season finale.

Upset of the Week: Detroit Lions (+3) 23, CAROLINA PANTHERS 20: If the teams revert to 2013 form, this is a foolish pick. After losing their opener at home last season, the Panthers won seven straight. The Lions, meanwhile, lost their past three on the road.

Nobody on the Panthers was surprised when Bené Benwikere made a key fumble recovery. He appears to have come to Carolina fully formed. In Spartanburg and in exhibitions you’d wait for him to get overwhelmed or lost. He chose not to.

The Baltimore Ravens gave Ray Rice what he deserved after a video that showed him punching his fiancee unconscious surfaced. What, then, should Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy’s punishment be if his appeal of a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction fails?

Last season, Charlotte’s home opener was as much a celebration of football as it was a football game. The contest was the first in school history, and it was a tribute to the alumni who pushed relentlessly for a program and administrators who made it happen. The occasion was one of the finest in Charlotte’s athletic history.

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Tom Sorensen
Tom Sorensen has been a columnist at The Observer for 20 years and has been at the paper for 25, writing about nearly every sport in the Carolinas.