Wednesday March 25th, 2015

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke to reporters on Wednesday about the team's signing of defensive end Greg HardyHardy is on the Commissioner's Exempt List after being found guilty last July on misdemeanor domestic violence charges.

As an unrestricted free agent, Hardy was free to sign with any team. The Cowboys signed him to a one-year deal that could be worth more than $13 million.

Coach Jason Garrett said recently that the team carefully vetted Hardy before signing him. On Wednesday, Jones suggested that there are instances in which players' character issues are taken into consideration but that an underlying goal is to improve the team.

• EAGLE: Cowboys gamble on Hardy

“I recognize all of those statements that, if you want to look at it that way, could be conflicting,’’ Jones said. “There’s no question that Jason wants a team that is made up of the finest character players and the finest talent that you can have.

“The real world is that you don’t get all of that. One of the things that we need to do at all times is be looking toward becoming a better football team. That’s all of our jobs.’’

After he played in one game this season,  Hardy was played on the exempt list by the Panthers. He still made $13.1 million last season after the team placed the franchise tag on him.

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In 2013, the 26-year-old Hardy recorded 65 tackles and 15 sacks and was invited to the Pro Bowl.

Hardy was set to stand trial in February after appealing the conviction, but the charges were dismissed after his accuser reportedly could not be located by prosecutors.

Hardy reportedly reached a financial settlement with the accuser. Hardy is said to be seeking immediate reinstatement to the league and met with league officials in New York earlier this month.

- Chris Johnson

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