Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy had his suspension reduced from 10 games to four on appeal by arbitrator Harold Henderson, the NFL announced Friday.
The NFL initially suspended Hardy in April for what it deemed to be multiple violations of the personal conduct policy during an incident with a former girlfriend in the spring of 2014. The charges against Hardy were eventually dismissed after Nicole Holder refused to cooperate with the Mecklenburg (N.C.) County district attorney's office.
n July 2014, Hardy was found guilty by a judge of assaulting Holder and threatening to kill her. He received a 60-day suspended sentence and 18 months' probation on misdemeanor charges but appealed the judge's ruling in favor of a jury trial. The case was dismissed in February when Holder chose not to cooperate with authorities after receiving a settlement from Hardy.
Like law enforcement, the NFL was unable to interview Holder but was provided with photos and other materials for its independent investigation that concluded Hardy used physical force against Holder on "at least four instances."
The league also said Hardy failed to provide complete and accurate information to NFL investigators and staff and that Hardy's attorneys did not provide a copy of the settlement with Holder or acknowledge that an agreement exists.
In its appeal, the NFL Players Association believed Goodell used the personal conduct policy to penalize Hardy even though the incident happened before the policy was in place.
When the Cowboys signed Hardy to a one-year deal in March, the team knew he faced a possible lengthy suspension but structured the contract in such a way that it did not include any guaranteed money and the biggest payment would come in the form of per-game roster bonuses.
Hardy's deal is worth up to $13.2 million, but he will earn as much as $9.5 million for every week he is on the 53-man roster. He has earned a $1.3 million workout bonus this spring and is scheduled to make a $750,000 base salary. He can also earn up to $1.804 million in incentives.
Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, coaches and players have lauded Hardy's offseason, calling him one of the hardest workers on the team.
Hardy will be permitted to take part in training camp and preseason games. The suspension will begin Sept. 5.