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DE Greg Hardy: 'I want to play'

MIAMI -- Inactive Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy told ESPN.com on Friday that he's eager and hopeful to return to the Carolina Panthers this season.

Hardy has been on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's exempt list, with pay, since Sept. 17 while his domestic violence case is pending. The trial in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, was recently postponed until early 2015, which means there is a chance Hardy could return to the Panthers (3-5-1) this season.

"I want to play, man," Hardy said at Miami International Airport in his first public comments since going on the exempt list. "My team, you know, is losing right now. So I can't wait."

Hardy said he was in South Florida this week to meet with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Despite not playing since Week 1, Hardy looks to be in good shape and said he continues to train regularly.

"I train everywhere," Hardy said.

Hardy has received support from several teammates and Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who believes the defensive end should return to the field now that the trial is postponed.

An NFL spokesman told ESPN.com on Wednesday that there has been no change in Hardy's status and that the original statement still stands.

That statement said: "The agreement with the union regarding Greg Hardy's status states that he agreed to be placed on the commissioner-exempt list with full pay until the criminal charges pending against him are adjudicated, and that no discipline will be imposed against him by the team or league until the charges are adjudicated."

Hardy played well in Carolina's opener, recording four tackles and one sack in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Panthers are 2-5-1 without him in the lineup this season.

Information from ESPN.com Panthers reporter David Newton is included in this report.