Carolina Panthers’ Greg Hardy wants to play this season

Carolina Panthers’ Greg Hardy wants to play this season

CHARLOTTE, NC (Jonathan Jones/The Charlotte Observer) - Even though he likely won't be able to, beleaguered defensive end Greg Hardy said he still wants to play for the Carolina Panthers this season.

In a chance encounter with an reporter at Miami International Airport, Hardy said he's eager to get back on the field for the team that invested $13.1 million in him this season.

"I want to play, man," Hardy told in his first comments to the media since an Observer interview in Week 2 of the NFL season. "My team, you know, is losing right now. So I can't wait."

The Panthers have won just two games without Hardy this season since the Week 1 win at Tampa Bay, the only game he appeared in. Hardy was inactive for Week 2's contest against Detroit and he was placed on the commissioner's exempt list in Week 3.

Hardy is awaiting a jury trial for his domestic violence charges stemming from a May incident with his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder. Hardy was found guilty of assaulting and threatening to kill Holder by a district court judge in July and appealed immediately for a jury trial.

Hardy's jury trial was originally slated for Nov. 17, but earlier this week the district attorney's office announced it had been pushed back to early 2015 because of a crowded court docket.

The Panthers have indicated they will wait for the legal process to conclude before doing anything with Hardy, who is collecting about $770,000 per week.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Friday afternoon the team has not been in communication with the league about any possible change in Hardy's status.

"He said he wanted to play, which was good to hear," Rivera said. "Again, it's in his court and the league's court as to what's going to happen. So we just have to react to what the decision is as it comes down the pipe."

According to the report, Hardy is still in good shape.

"I train everywhere," Hardy told ESPN in Miami, where he regularly travels for leisure and occasional rap performances.

Injury update: The Panthers' injury report Friday was a facsimile of the one from Thursday.

Nickel Bené Benwikere and guard Trai Turner did not practice with ankle injuries. Defensive tackles Dwan Edwards (knee) and Kawann Short (ankle) were limited, and receiver Philly Brown participated fully as he worked himself out of the concussion protocol.

Because the game is Monday night, the Panthers don't have to list players' status for the game until Saturday. It's unlikely Benwikere or Turner play against the Eagles.

Davis fined: Linebacker Thomas Davis was fined $16,537 for striking New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham away from the play in last week's 28-10 loss against the Saints.

On a deflected pass that would be intercepted by defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, Davis laid a hit on Graham that sent Graham to the turf before the ball was intercepted.

Davis wasn't penalized for the hit and it took Graham a while to compose himself to get to his feet.

"That block came before the ball was even tipped, you know?" Graham said after the game.

"That wasn't a block. That was a hit, and it seemed like that was intentional."

Williams declines again: In what has become almost predictable, Carolina's all-time leading rusher DeAngelo Williams declined to talk with the media Friday.

Williams has spoken to Charlotte sports media twice this season – once after the Week 1 win at Tampa Bay and in the week leading up the Baltimore game. During training camp, Williams also spoke with former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney, who signed Williams to a five-year, $43 million deal in 2011, on Hurney's local radio show.

Charlotte media members have respected Williams' wish to not answer questions about his mother, Sandra Hill, who died from breast cancer in May.

When asked to talk strictly about football, Williams used a quote from Houston running back Arian Foster, who earlier this year repeated he was "trying to be the best teammate I can be" in response to multiple questions by reporters.

Told Foster's quotes weren't well received by media and fans, Williams said, "Then I'm not going to say anything" before walking out of the locker room.