Packers' DL Hargrove to miss half of 2012 after Saints 'bounty-gate'
GREEN BAY - A recent free-agent pickup for the Green Bay Packers will miss half of the 2012 season for actions connected to the Saints "bounty-gate" scandal.
Defensive end Anthony Hargrove has been suspended without pay for eight regular season games.
"Hargrove actively participated in the (pay-for-performance/bounty) program while a member of the Saints," said the league in a release.
"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. "
The Packers picked up Hargrove, known as a strong pass rusher, as a free agent in order to help a defense that finished last in the NFL in 2011.
The scandal goes back to the late 2000's, where the Saints allegedly participated in "bounties" where players would be paid for injuring opponents or knocking them out of a game.
“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," said Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma will miss the entire 2012 campaign due to suspension. Saints defensive end will miss the first four games, while current Browns LB Scott Fujita has a three-game suspension.
Players can appeal the decision with the commissioner's office within a three-day period.
Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely, while head coach Sean Payton has begun a year-long suspension.