It’s probably a good thing the Green Bay Packers drafted two defensive linemen this year.
Anthony Hargrove, one of the team’s offseason free agent signings, has been suspended eight games by the NFL for playing a role in the New Orleans Saints bounty program.
The league said that Hargrove “actively participated in the program while a member of the Saints. Hargrove submitted a signed declaration to the league that established not only the existence of the program at the Saints, but also that he knew about and participated in it. The evidence showed that Hargrove told at least one player on another team that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was a target of a large bounty during the NFC Championship Game in January of 2010. Hargrove also actively obstructed the league’s 2010 investigation into the program by being untruthful to investigators.”
In all, four current and former Saints players were suspended without pay. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma received the worst punishment — 16 games. Will Smith got four and Scott Fujita, who’s now with Cleveland, got three.
“In assessing player discipline, I focused on players who were in leadership positions at the Saints; contributed a particularly large sum of money toward the program; specifically contributed to a bounty on an opposing player; demonstrated a clear intent to participate in a program that potentially injured opposing players; sought rewards for doing so; and/or obstructed the 2010 investigation,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
All four players are expected to appeal, but since Goodell is judge, jury and executioner, they probably won’t get far unless they resort to legal action.
Hargrove joins defensive end Mike Neal on the suspended list. Neal was suspended four games for performance enhancing drugs.
Fortunately, the Packers didn’t make much of an investment in Hargrove. His contract is for only $825,000 over one year. It isn’t guaranteed and contained no signing bonus.
Hargrove will be able to participate in the Packers offseason program and the preseason. If he doesn’t show something there, it will be pretty easy for the Packers to move on without him.