Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy made an appearance at The Owners Box sports bar inside the Omni Hotel Monday night as part of a promotion for Gameday Sports Tours. His former team, the Carolina Panthers, were playing, but Hardy wasn't interested in football -- this night was for the fans.
Many of those fans rushed in Hardy's direction to get in line for an autograph. When Jeremy Smith, a 38-year-old Cowboys fan, approached Hardy with a Panthers mini helmet to be signed, his reaction was priceless.
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"No, I can't do it," Hardy told Smith, per Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News.
Hardy didn't want to let one of his fans down, so he quickly came up with something else that he could sign for Smith. Hardy reached into his pocket and pulled out a stack of cash. He took a $100 bill, signed it with his nickname "Kracken" and gave Smith the autograph he was looking for.
If he plays in every game this season, Hardy can earn up to $11,311,600 from the Cowboys in 2015. Carrying around a lot of cash and handing out $100 bills is the type of flaboyant behavior that Hardy can afford to, and also something that he enjoys doing.
"That's for the fans, man. You got to show love," Hardy said when asked about his $100 bill handout.
Smith was originally peeved by Hardy's decision to not sign the helmet he bought specifically for this moment, but he quickly got over it after Hardy's gesture. And no, Smith does not plan to spend the $100 bill with "Kraken" spilled across the face of the bill anytime soon. He told Machota that he plans to have the bill professionally framed.
"I was a little irritated because I spent $37 on the mini helmet," Smith said. "But he offset it by throwing down the $100 bill. I was a little surprised. It made me feel better."
Hardy's actions off the field since returning from his domestic violence suspension have earned him some enemies, but Monday's event proved that there are plenty of Cowboys fans willing to look past his troubled history.
"He's playing exceptional," Smith said. "He plays with heart. He says what's on his mind. I don't have a problem with that. It may be a distraction, but I don't care, he's on our team, so I could care less."
Smith is not incorrect -- Hardy has already racked up 3 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. If he can continue to produce at a high level and stay out of trouble, history has proven that fans are willing to give players like Hardy a second chance.
(h/t Dallas Morning News)