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Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The Wonderful World of Greg Hardy

By David Newton

Jay Cutler
Greg Hardy has high expectations this season for the Carolina defense.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Greg Hardy has his back to a group of us surrounding his locker on Monday, so he doesn't realize we're innocently eavesdropping on his conversation with members of the Carolina Panthers defensive line he has dubbed "MonStrz Inc."

Not that it matters.

On the record or off, the defensive end is entertaining.

And he's already in midseason form even though the opener against the Seattle Seahawks isn't until Sunday.

Welcome to the "Wonderful World of Hardy.'' It'll likely be a weekly staple on this page considering there is no player in the Carolina locker room more colorful or outspoken.

It didn't take long for a newbie like myself to realize this. On my first day of training camp in August, this 6-foot-4, 290-pound man-child was delivering one-liners faster than he does sacks.
Monday is more of the same as Hardy holds court about a variety of topics surrounding the opener.
That would be 110 percent. Not sacks.

But with Hardy, who had a breakout season in 2012 with 11 sacks and 23 quarterback pressures that has the Panthers talking contract extension, you never can be quite sure.

However, one thing is for sure: Hardy and the rest of Carolina's front seven must be accounted for on Sunday. Veteran strong safety Quintin Mikell, signed on Monday, calls it the best front seven he's ever been a part of. And Mikell played with some pretty good defenses in Philadelphia from 2003 to 2010.

Hardy likes what the secondary brings to the group this season that was lacking a year ago.

"I trust those guys a whole lot more,'' he says. "Those guys are covering. They're moving well. I know they want more just like the D-line does. That's what's going to make our whole defense great.''

The potential is there. But so far Hardy has given nicknames only to the defensive front. In case you missed it, Hardy is known as "The Kraken."

The rest: DE Charles Johnson: Loch Ness; DT Dwan Edwards: Phoenix; DT Star Lotulelei: Hydra; DT Colin Cole: Big Predator; DE Mario Addison: Gargoyle; DE Frank Alexander: Leviathan; DT Kawann Short: Minotaur.

Hardy released the names along with pictures in June via his Twitter account GQ @ItsGHardy.

If you dig through his tweets, a must follow for Panthers fans, you'll find a picture of a Hardy T-shirt that says: "KEEP CALM and RELEASE THE KRAKEN.''

Monday is a small sample of what's to come.