Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said Wednesday that he thinks Ray Rice and Greg Hardy deserve a second chance in the NFL.
The Cowboys signed Hardy, a defensive end, to a one-year deal last month. In July, Hardy was convicted by a judge in a bench trial of misdemeanor domestic violence charges. He appealed the verdict and was set to stand trial in February but the charges were dropped after his accuser did not appear in court.
Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in September after TMZ published video showing him striking his then-fiancee inside a casino elevator. The Ravens also terminated his contract on the same day. Rice appealed the suspension and was ultimately reinstated by the league in November. He has yet to sign with a new team.
"If every time someone did something wrong everybody turned the other way and didn't like anybody on this planet, really in general, I would think that none of us would like each other," Romo said. "I just think with some people, stuff ends up getting found out about and they have to deal with it and take responsibility for it, especially when you're in the public eye. I just think that everybody deserves a second chance. I think that's just part of what we should be doing as people and as teams."
After the signing of Hardy was announced, Dallas sports anchor Dale Hansen ripped the team, saying the Cowboys "can't possibly sink any lower." Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings was also critical of the signing.
Romo said that there's "no question" Hardy will help Dallas as a pass rusher and that because he's a talented player, "we all know" he would be given more opportunities in the NFL.
"At the same time, even if he wasn't, I still think Ray Rice and Greg Hardy deserve another chance, just because I feel like everybody has their skeletons in their closet. If everything was shown over everyone's head, no one would be given a second chance. That's part of the way I think we think."
In February, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome told the Baltimore Sun that he would be "happy" to see Rice get a chance with another NFL team. Rice, 28, sat out the entire 2014 season.
- Molly Geary