Panthers' Greg Hardy explains his football introduction of 'Kraken, Hogwarts'

jjones@charlotteobserver.com jperson@charlotteobserver.comDecember 9, 2013 

Greg Hardy’s ‘Sunday Night Football’ introduction has been hailed by some as one of the best ever, and by others as one of the worst.

Hardy, in sunglasses, announced his name and alma mater as “Kraken, Hogwarts” at the beginning of the Carolina-New Orleans NFL game.

Hardy went to Ole Miss but instead decided to claim the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter novels as his alma mater.

“It’s just the Kraken,” Hardy said. “Mystical. It’s where he lives at.”

Hardy explained how last week, when the film crew was in town to produce the introductions, he went in after practice and did it in one take.

“After practice, I’m tired,” he said. “I’m trying to be as nice as I can. They said, ‘Are you sure?’ (I said) ‘Yeah that’s all I got for you. Kind of want to go to sleep now.’

“I did (wear sunglasses). That was kind of my touch though. Figured why not? YOLO (You only live once). I can’t get in more trouble than I already did. I’m not riding a motorcycle. I’m not getting kicked out of something. I feel like I’m doing pretty good.”

Johnson feeling good: Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson played in his first game Sunday night since spraining the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, and with ice on the knee Monday afternoon, he said he’d play this Sunday against the New York Jets.

Johnson didn’t say he was at 100 percent in Sunday night’s 31-13 loss to New Orleans but was happy to be back on the field after missing two games.

“I mean it was good to just get out there and get the feel of it,” Johnson said. “Put a new brace on it and just got to keep getting better from what I did.”

Johnson played 51 of the Panthers’ 65 defensive snaps. He had two tackles and one quarterback hit but did not add to his team-high 8.5-sack total. The defensive line combined for one sack for zero yards and four quarterback hits.

“We didn’t get after (Saints quarterback Drew Brees) like we wanted to,” Johnson said. “They had a good game plan and we didn’t execute like we’re used to.

“When he holds on to the rock we’ve got to get after him. When you got one-on-ones, you got to win. I feel like we could have helped out tremendously, and we’ve just got to learn from our mistakes.”

Playtime percentages: Starting safeties Mike Mitchell and Quintin Mikell played all 65 defensive snaps against the Saints. Undrafted rookie Robert Lester, who had started the two previous games at strong safety, played only on special teams.

Linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis both had 63 plays, and cornerback Drayton Florence had 62. Outside linebacker Chase Blackburn, who had missed three games with a foot injury before returning at New Orleans, played 25 defensive reps, with rookie A.J. Klein getting eight.

Offensively, fullback Mike Tolbert – who was coming off a big game against Tampa Bay – logged 24 of 63 possible snaps.

Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9

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