You never know what Carolina Panthers' defensive end Greg Hardy might say when you put a microphone in front of him. The unfiltered 24-year-old didn't disappoint during an interview last Tuesday, telling the media he's aiming for 50 – yes, 50 – sacks this season.
"Why shoot low, right? If I'm going to shoot at it … I'm going to shoot at a little bird with a 50-caliber bullet," Hardy said, via The Associated Press. "That's the goal for this year, 50 sacks, that's where I'm at."
This statement comes amid contractual uncertainty for Hardy, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal. There is no evidence that the Panthers have spoken to the fourth-year pro, or that a new contract is imminent. Nonetheless, dollars and cents appear to be the last thing on Hardy's eccentric mind.
“Yeah, you can’t think about it,” Hardy told the Charlotte Observer following Tuesday's first practice at mandatory minicamp. “That’s what I have an agent for. That’s not really my job.”
Along with Charles Johnson, the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Tennessee native – who tallied a career-high 11 sacks last season – comprise one of the most formidable defensive end tandems in the NFL. With the addition of defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in April's draft, the defensive line – which Hardy has impetuously dubbed "MonStrz Inc" – appears to be much improved from last season.
Although Hardy's 50-sack goal – and much of his other commentary – is comical hyperbole, the potential of the Carolina front four is anything but overstated. The Panthers' current defensive line is among the most talented in the league, and could surprise a lot of fans – and opposing offensive lineman – this season.