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Greg Hardy will practice for Carolina Panthers, but situation remains 'fluid'

Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy will practice this week, but the team has not made a decision on his status for this week's game against Pittsburgh or the rest of the season.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said general manager Dave Gettleman is doing "due diligence" on Hardy's situation, and Rivera indicated the team's front office has been in consultation with the league office.

Rivera said Panthers officials want to act in the best interests of the team, but added the team does not plan to release Hardy, who was found guilty in July of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend.

"We're going to have to look at things and look at what's going on," Rivera said. "We’re going to have to get a feel for some things and as I said, Dave and the guys upstairs are going to do their due diligence in terms of looking at what our options are."

Hardy is guaranteed $13.1 million this season after receiving the franchise tag during the offseason. He earned $770,000 on Sunday when he was deactivated for the Panthers' win against Detroit.

Teams can deactivate players a maximum of four games under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

Hardy played in the Panthers' Week 1 win at Tampa Bay. Two days before the game against Detroit, Rivera said Hardy would start against the Lions.

But the team changed course following a week that started with the TMZ video of Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee, and ended with the arrest of Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson on child-abuse charges. The Vikings forced the Panthers' hand when they announced Friday Peterson would be deactivated for their game against New England.

The Vikings announced Monday that Peterson has been reinstated and is expected to play this week.

Rivera said he's concerned about Hardy's situation becoming a distraction the longer it drags out.

"Without a doubt I am concerned about it because it becomes a distraction, and that’s part of the reason I made the decision," Rivera said. "Because if you play and you win, then it’s you don’t have a conscience. If you play him and you lose, then he’s a distraction. The decision was made in the best interest of this organization."

Rivera said Hardy understood the decision to deactivate him Sunday, and gave him permission to leave Bank of America Stadium for the game.

Hardy arrived the stadium Monday about five minutes before the start of a scheduled team meeting. He walked past a group of reporters without responding to any questions.

Mecklenburg County district judge Becky Thorne Tin in July found Hardy guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill Nicole Holder, a cocktail waitress who told authorities Hardy was upset about her brief relationship with the rapper Nelly.

Hardy appealed the decision and has a jury trial set for Nov. 17, although his attorney believes it will be delayed to 2015. The Panthers have nine games before Hardy's court date, which falls on the Monday during their bye week.

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