Panthers starting defensive end Greg Hardy said he isn't about to let his contract be a distraction and keep him from being a ''dominant'' player this season.
It might even inspire him to play harder.
The Panthers outspoken fourth-year player said Tuesday he plans to report to training camp on time and play this season even if he doesn't get a new contract from the Panthers.
Hardy had been hoping for a new contract after a breakout season in 2012 in which he posted a career-high 11 sacks and 61 tackles.
But with Carolina's struggles getting under the NFL salary cap this offseason no long-term deal has been reached. Hardy said he understands the team's financial restrictions and won't allow his contractual situation to be a distraction.
Hardy missed four voluntary practices during OTAs raising speculation he might hold out. But he attended the team's first mandatory minicamp practice Tuesday and dispelled that notion.
''Yeah, I will be there bright and early, same as always,'' ...