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PANTHERS-HARDY'S FUTURE

DE Greg Hardy faces uncertain future with Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Panthers must decide how Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy's conviction on charges of assault on a female and communicating threats will impact his long-term future in Carolina.

Carolina made Hardy its franchise player in March, signing him to a one-year, $13.1 million deal after a 15-sack season last year. But talks of a long-term deal fizzled after Hardy was first arrested May 13.

The team isn't commenting on Tuesday night's guilty verdict until after Hardy's appeal is heard. But some former Panthers say the news won't sit well with team owner Jerry Richardson, who has shied away from signing players who could draw negative attention to the organization.

The Panthers could release Hardy for conduct detrimental to the team, but there's no guarantee they'd recoup his hefty salary.

NC STATE-COACHES-CAR WRECK

Wolfpack assistant coaches aid driver in car wreck

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Two North Carolina State assistant football coaches stopped at a wreck to help remove the driver from an overturned car.

Receivers coach Frisman Jackson says he and defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable were driving separately from Raleigh to their homes in nearby Holly Springs on Tuesday evening when they encountered the accident.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Jackson said the driver was OK with some abrasions and was "more in shock." He said the coaches and other people stopped because "human nature just kicked in."

Jackson tweeted a photo of the overturned car.

Spokeswoman Patty McQuillan with the Department of Public Safety says a state trooper reported to the same location Tuesday to investigate an overturned car in a ditch. An incident report was not available Wednesday.

HORNETS-STEPHENSON

AP Source: Hornets land SG Stephenson

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A person familiar with the contract says free-agent shooting guard Lance Stephenson has agreed to a $27 million, three-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets.

The deal includes a team option for the third season.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been made public. The person says Stephenson is expected to be introduced at a news conference Friday.

Stephenson met with Hornets owner Michael Jordan and other members of the organization Tuesday night in Las Vegas. Stephenson is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. He led the league with five triple-doubles.

Charlotte turned its attention to Stephenson after Utah matched its offer to restricted free agent Gordon Hayward.

SOUTHERN AMATEUR

Murray shoots 66 for lead at Southern Amateur

OOLTEWAH, Tenn. (AP) - Grayson Murray shot a 6-under 66 in grabbing the first round lead at the 108th Southern Amateur at The Honors Course.

Murray, from Raleigh, North Carolina, birdied four straight holes Wednesday on his back nine, and took a two-stroke lead after 18 holes. Trevor Cone of Concord, North Carolina, and Geoff Drakeford of Australia each shot 68.

Defending Southern Amateur champ Zach Olsen from Memphis, Tennessee, opened with a 76.

Murray, who transferred from Duke to Arizona State where he will be a junior this fall, hit driver only three times so he could hit mid-irons into the greens. During his consecutive birdies, his longest putt was 7 feet.

The winner of the 72-hole event will receive a spot in the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

MONTGOMERY-SPEEDING ARREST

Bengals DL Montgomery's SC speeding ticket dropped

LAURENS, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina speeding ticket against Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Sam Montgomery has been thrown out after the trooper who wrote the ticket didn't show up in court.

Defense attorney Jim Todd said he entered a not guilty plea on Montgomery's behalf Wednesday in traffic court in Laurens. The judge accepted the plea and dismissed the ticket.

Montgomery was arrested and spent a night in jail after Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. R.S. Salter clocked him going 89 mph in a 55 mph zone. But the trooper's dashboard camera also captured the officer threatening to use a Taser because the 6-foot-3, 262-pound lineman was struggling to understand his commands.

Salter was suspended by the state Department of Public Safety and his conduct is being investigated.

The Index-Journal of Greenwood (http://bit.ly/WifBxF) first reported the ticket dismissal and also reported Salter wasn't allowed to testify in court because he is suspended.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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