Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers plan to start embattled DE Greg Hardy

In a week where there’s been as much focus on the field as off it, the Carolina Panthers will start embattled defensive end Greg Hardy on Sunday against the Lions.

Hardy missed practice Wednesday to meet with his lawyer. He returned Thursday and had two good days of practice, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.

“He looks fine. Greg gets on the practice field and he’s full blast, 100 percent,” Rivera said. “Football is football to him and he focuses in on what needs to be done.”

In July, Hardy was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her. He appealed the conviction and he awaits a jury trial slated for Nov. 17.

The Panthers have said they will follow the NFL’s lead and wait until the legal process is complete before taking any action against Hardy.

Carolina could discipline Hardy before the legal process is complete, including making Hardy inactive for games. The Vikings deactivated running back Adrian Peterson Friday night after he was indicted on charges of child abuse.

In the wake of the Vikings’ move, a Panthers spokesman told the Observer the Panthers had no plans to make Hardy inactive.

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