Greg Hardy is free to sign with any NFL team next week, the league clarified on Thursday.
Just when the soon-to-be free agent will actually be able to play for that team, however, remains up in the air.
Hardy, who has spent all five years of his professional career with the Carolina Panthers, was convicted on two counts of domestic violence last summer. But both charges were dismissed last month after he appealed and his accuser couldn't be located to testify.
The former Pro Bowler spent all but one game last season on the commissioner's exempt list, where he remains as the NFL investigates his case. He still faces a possible suspension from the league.
Still, “there's nothing to prevent a player on the exempt list without a contract from signing a new one,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Thursday in an email to the Associated Press.
Hardy tied a Panthers team record with 15 sacks in 2013, and he's only 26. A guy like that normally would have no problem landing himself a nice contract on the free-agent market.
But this is a special case. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.