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Panthers DE Greg Hardy will practice, but participation Sunday unclear

Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy missed the Week 2 game against the Detroit Lions after the team deactivated him due to an ongoing domestic violence case.

Grant Halverson

The Pittsburgh Steelers have begun preparing for the Carolina Panthers this Sunday in Charlotte, NC. Whether they will be facing a Panthers team with defensive end Greg Hardy in the lineup is yet to be seen.

Head Coach Ron Rivera, who deactivated Hardy before the team's win over the Detroit Lions Sunday, said Hardy would practice this week, but his participation in the game Sunday vs. the Steelers is still unclear.

Rivera is ultimately concerned that the entire situation will become a distraction for his Panthers team that sits atop the NFC South at 2-0.

"Without a doubt I am concerned about it because it becomes a distraction, and that's part of the reason I made the decision," Rivera told the Charolotte Observer. "Because if you play and you win, then it's you don't have a conscience. If you play him and you lose, then he's a distraction. The decision was made in the best interest of this organization."

Hardy is just one of many tremendous defenders on this Panthers team, and his absence or presence will certainly make a difference in the make-up of the game.

The Steelers' offensive line has struggled with pass protection at times during two games and the pass-rushing abilities of Hardy will make this story worth keeping an eye on throughout the week.