CHARLOTTE – No matter what action the Carolina Panthers and Greg Hardy took Wednesday, it would have been impossible for them to please everyone or be equally fair to everyone.
"I think you just want the right resolution," tight end Greg Olsen said less than an hour before learning that Hardy was taking a leave of absence. "The magic question right now is, 'What is the perfect scenario for everyone?' "
Lacking a perfect solution – because there isn't one – the Panthers in conjunction with Hardy did the next best thing: They made the decision that was best for the welfare of the organization given the information currently at their disposal.
"I'm disappointed, but I also understand that this is a very serious situation, and we have had to do some things that we feel are prudent, things that need to be done," head coach Ron Rivera said. "There are a lot of circumstances that we don't know. There are a lot of situations that we don't understand.
"This is not a normal set of circumstances. When you get into these types of situations, you try to handle them the best you can."
Hardy will remain on the NFL's exempt list, general manager Dave Gettleman said, until his legal proceedings are resolved. The Pro Bowl defensive end has a jury trial scheduled for November 17 on charges of assault on a female and communicating threats.
Rivera spent 90 minutes with Hardy on Wednesday morning in between meetings involving Hardy and his agent, Gettleman and others in an attempt to forge a resolution.
At a 3:30 p.m. meeting, Rivera informed his team of the decision.
"I explained what Greg had decided to do and the reasons why he decided to do it," Rivera said. "The biggest thing was that Greg wanted to try to take away the distraction. He also wanted to be focused on making sure that he takes care of the business that needs to be taken care of.
"I spent a lot of time with Greg today, and he was disappointed obviously that it had gotten to this and that he was in this situation and set of circumstances. I talked to the players about it and let them know that this was the situation and that we have to go forward."
That's exactly what the team will do in the estimation of Olsen, a first-year team captain.
"You learn pretty quick that the most successful teams do the best job of just worrying about the now and what's in their control," Olsen said even before learning of the decision. "There are going to be a lot of outside factors personally and in the workplace, outside opinions. You have to do the best you can to not let those things impact your preparation and how you get ready for each game."
Rivera stressed that Hardy is still a member of the team and expects Hardy to contribute on the field once his case is resolved. In the meantime, Hardy will be allowed to participate in team activities except for games and practices.
"I think Greg is going to take a breath. I'm going to reach out to him in a couple of days and visit with him," Rivera said. "I would hope that he would feel welcomed back. I know a lot of his teammates asked about him immediately after I made the announcement. Greg is a part of this football team.
"It's a tough situation, and he knows he put himself in it. He was apologetic with me. We had a great conversation. It was unfortunate that it was under these circumstances, but he is resolute in how he feels about his situation and circumstances. He does expect to be back in November."