Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy was involved in a sideline incident in which he confronted special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia and also argued with wide receiver Dez Bryant during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Moments after Giants kick returner Dwayne Harris scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown on a 100-yard kickoff return midway through the fourth quarter, an irate Hardy went into the special-teams huddle. In video shown Sunday night by NBC, he could be seen swiping at Bisaccia's clipboard before the coach put both hands on his chest and tried to push him out of the huddle. At that point, other players pulled Hardy away.
Shortly after that, Bryant, who was not playing because of a foot injury, argued with Hardy in an apparent attempt to get the defensive end away from the situation.
"He wanted to get in there and kind of get after some of the guys a little bit, maybe get them fired up," Bisaccia told reporters for The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It was just not the right time. It's really not an issue. I just had to communicate what we were going to do next on the return, so I just really wanted him to move on so we could get going."
Hardy was asked by reporters about the incident but said he had no comment.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett downplayed the incident and expressed support for Hardy.
Jones said he did not see the altercation but indicated he had no problem with Hardy when the incident was described to him.
"As a matter of fact, I would encourage it," Jones said. "[Hardy] is of course one of the real leaders on this team and he earns it. He earns it with the respect from all of his teammates. That's the kind of thing that inspires. You watched him warm up out there and he was inspirational nothing but warming up. He was ready to play. He's just getting guys ready to play, in my view. I don't have any issue with him being involved in motivating or pushing in any part of the football team because he plays and walks the walk."
Garrett said he thought Hardy was trying to fire up the special-teams unit.
"I was standing right there," said Garrett, whose team fell to 2-4 with its fourth straight loss. "To be a good football player and a good football team, you have to have passion and put it all out there. Sometimes in a game, things don't go well and you have a response. A pro football coach and a pro football team understand that those things happen. You want the guys with passion."
Safety Danny McCray, a member of the unit, told The Associated Press that Hardy "pushed me a little bit." But he also told reporters that Hardy "is such a passionate player. He's all over the place. He's in the defensive huddle, the offensive huddle and today, he made our special-teams huddle. He was showing his passion that we gave up the lead and we needed to fix it. It's football. Those guys love each other, and we'll get in meetings tomorrow and talk it over. [Hardy] was just trying to get us fired up."
Hardy signed with the Cowboys in March after being convicted last year of assaulting his then-girlfriend and communicating threats to her. The charges were dismissed in February after prosecutors could not locate his former girlfriend to testify.
Hardy was suspended for 10 games by the NFL for conduct detrimental to the league, and the suspension later was reduced to four games.