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'Boys back Hardy as photos surface

IRVING, Texas — Cowboys owner Jerry Jones showed support for Greg Hardy on Friday after photos of the bruised ex-girlfriend from the defensive end's domestic violence case were released by the website Deadspin.

Jones said the team had not seen the photos before signing Hardy, 27, to an incentive-laden $13 million free agent contract in March, but the Cowboys "were and are aware of the serious nature of this incident."

"We do not condone domestic violence," Jones said in a statement released by the team about eight hours after the photos were posted online. "We entered into the agreement with Greg fully understanding that there would be scrutiny and criticism."

As he was leaving the locker room Friday, Hardy ignored a reporter who asked repeatedly if he wanted to address the gallery of 48 photos that show various bruises and abrasions Nicole Holder suffered to her back, legs, foot, arms, neck and chin.

Deadspin didn't say how the photos were obtained, and the website's account included some previously unreported details from police reports.

Hardy was convicted by a judge over the 2014 incident in North Carolina, but the case was tossed on appeal when Holder couldn't be located to testify. The incident was expunged from Hardy's record this week. Prosecutors have said Holder reached a financial settlement with Hardy. The NFL sued for access to some of the photos used at Hardy's trial, eventually reaching a settlement. The league suspended him for 10 games while saying that evidence suggested Holder "was severely traumatized and sustained a range of injuries." His suspension under the personal conduct policy was reduced to four games by an arbitrator. He has played three games for the Cowboys.

"We have given Greg a second chance," Jones said in his statement. "He is a member of our team and someone who is grateful for the opportunity he has been given to move forward with his life and his career."

Hardy missed 15 games with Carolina in 2014 because of the domestic case but still collected his $13 million salary. He was accused of choking and grabbing Holder and throwing her on a futon that had at least four semi-automatic rifles on it.

Mariota back: Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has missed the past two games with a sprained left MCL, will start Sunday, the team said.

Fines: The league fined Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett $20,000 for a late hit on Dallas quarterback Matt Cassel and Bengals safety George Iloka $23,152 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller. Cowboys safety Jeff Heath won't be fined for his hit on Seattle receiver Ricardo Lockette, who needed surgery to stabilize ligaments in his neck. Heath was penalized for an illegal blindside block on the play.

Bills: Receiver Sammy Watkins said he'll play Sunday against Miami, which would be his first game since hurting his left ankle while catching a touchdown pass Oct. 18 against Cincinnati.

'Boys back Hardy as photos surface 11/06/15 [Last modified: Friday, November 6, 2015 11:10pm]
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