The Carolina Panthers will be without their best pass rusher Sunday night when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers as defensive end Greg Hardy will be placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Hardy, who has filed an appeal after being convicted on two counts of domestic violence stemming from an incident that took place during the summer, has reportedly decided to take voluntary leave from the Panthers until his legal proceedings are resolved.
Earlier Wednesday, Hardy and agent Drew Rosenhaus left Bank of America Stadium just as the Panthers began practice.
Hardy, who was held out of the Panthers 24-7 win Sunday over the Detroit Lions, registered one sack and a forced fumble in the Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former sixth-round draft pick recorded a career-high 15 sacks in 2013 on his way to earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
While on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, Hardy will receive his full $13.1 million salary.
With Hardy now ruled out for the Steelers game, Wes Horton, Kony Ealy and Mario Addison are all expected to see extended playing time Sunday night. Addison, a fourth-year player out of Troy, had 2.5 sacks against the Lions.