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“You just come to work. That’s what we do - let the work speak for itself,” said defensive end Charles Johnson. “I don’t get into people’s personal lives. As long as (guys) come to work ready to work.”

Hardy has been a major producer for the Panthers the last two seasons.

After registering 11 sacks in 2012, Hardy tied a franchise record with 15 sacks last season and was selected to his first Pro Bowl.

“Greg’s looked really good,” Rivera said. “It’s tough because we’re not in pads, so when he comes off the ball the tackles can’t really strike him the way you normally would in pads. So I think advantage goes to him right now. He’s very quick, very athletic and doing some very good things.”

The NFC South champion Panthers made Hardy their franchise player earlier this year, giving him more than $13 million for the 2014 season. But that decision forced the salary cap strapped Panthers to part ways with other players following a 12-4 season..

Gone are Smith and fellow receivers Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr., offensive tackle Jordan Gross and defensive backs Captain Munnerlyn and Mike Mitchell.

Johnson said he expects a lot of people to count the Panthers out because of the players they’ve lost from last year’s team.

He recommends they don’t.

“Just because we have new people doesn’t mean we aren’t going to do good,” Johnson said. “We are going to be all right.”


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