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Greg Hardy suspension reduced to 4 games

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The Cowboys defensive end is eligible to return in Week 5.

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Greg Hardy's 10-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy has been reduced to four games, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. Shortly after the NFL handed down the punishment, the Dallas Cowboys defensive end formally filed an appeal through the NFLPA. Hardy's appeal hearing lasted more than seven hours on May 28 and was presided over by arbitrator Harold Henderson, who decided the initial suspension was too long.

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In a statement, Henderson said that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was correct when he determined that Hardy had violated the league's personal conduct policy. "However," the statement added, "ten games is simply too much, in my view, of an increase over prior cases without notice such as was done last year, when the 'baseline' for discipline in domestic violence or sexual assault cases was announced as a six-game suspension.

Despite being given a reduced suspension in the ruling, Hardy and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, will consult with the NFL Players Association to determine whether to sue the NFL, according to ESPN's Ed Werder.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones released a statement Friday evening saying, "We are looking forward to the start of the season and having Greg be a part of the team."

Hardy, who signed with Dallas this offseason, played in only one game during the 2014 season. He spent the rest of the year on the commissioner's exempt list as the result of his conviction for assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. That conviction was later dropped after the victim declined to cooperate with authorities during his court appeal.

With Hardy's suspension now reduced to four games, his first action in a Cowboys uniform should come against the New England Patriots in Week 5. He was originally scheduled to return for a Thanksgiving Day tilt with his former team, the Carolina Panthers.

Hardy signed a one-year, bonus-laden deal with the Cowboys prior to his suspension, which was worth up to $13.116 million. However, the contract features a minimum base salary and is built around incentives and per-game roster bonuses, so the four-game suspension will severely cut into his bottom line, although it isn't as bad as the 10-game suspension he was originally slated to receive.

Previously, Hardy played his final season with the Panthers under the franchise tag, which netted him about $12 million in 2014 even though he played in just one game.

For his career, Hardy has amassed 142 tackles, 34 sacks and seven forced fumbles. He has also batted away 15 passes.

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