27

March

Anthony Hargrove: The Green Bay Packers Should Not Want Him

Former Saints DE Anthony Hargrove

Did Hargrove get paid extra for this hit?

In a further sign that the apocalypse may actually occur in 2012, the Green Bay Packers have waded into the free agency waters with Ted Thompson at the controls.

As someone who prefers to mainly build through the draft, Thompson largely bypasses the free agency period but with center Scott Wells leaving for the St. Louis Rams, Thompson was backed into a corner a bit and signed former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday to a two year contract.

The Packers needed a center and Thompson signed one, one that arguably may even be an upgrade at the position.  It’s been a move fans have largely approved.  Thompson signing a “name” free agent worked out pretty well when he signed Charles Woodson in 2006 and fans hope to see the same in the signing of Saturday.

Thompson is apparently not done in free agency this year, either.  Seahawks defensive end Anthony Hargrove apparently took to Twitter to announce he was likely headed to Green Bay to become a Packer.  The Twitter account claiming to be that of Hargrove’s is unverified, so it is unknown whether or not it is Hargrove actually sending those tweets, but the Packers earlier hosted the real Hargrove at Lambeau Field on his free agency tour.

There’s little doubt the Packers could use someone like him. The Packers had an anemic pass rush in 2011 and it was one of the big reasons an otherwise highly successful 15-1 campaign fizzled out in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.  Hargrove is a decent pass rusher who recorded five sacks in the 2009 Super Bowl-winning campaign for the Saints before heading to Seattle for one year in 2011.  He was drafted by the Rams in 2004 and recorded 6.5 sacks his sophomore season in 2005.

Here is the catch: Hargrove has a series of off the field troubles, most recently being named as a player that may have received a bounty in the now infamous New Orleans Saints bounty program that rewarded players in cash for knocking opposing players out of the game with extra incentive if they left the game on a cart.   Hargrove was implicated in the NFC Championship game where Brett Favre took the biggest pounding of his career in the Minnesota Vikings’ loss to the Saints.

Hargrove maintains there was no bounty on Favre for that game, but the league clearly disagrees with that statement as evidenced by the one year suspension handed down to Saints head coach Sean Payton and the eight-game suspension of GM Mickey Loomis.

Throw in a year-long suspension for Hargrove handed down in 2008 to go along with a four game suspension in 2007, both for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and the signing of Hargrove would appear to be a crapshoot for the Packers.

The Packers clearly are in desperate need of help on the defensive line, but are they really this desperate?

In Green Bay more than any other NFL city, character matters. Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy constantly talk about the need for “Packer People” in their locker room. “Packer People” can be defined as selfless individuals who are also good citizens off the field.  It’s that model that led the Packers to twice passing on wide receiver Randy Moss and other players that would have been assets on the field yet trouble off of it.

Hargrove has spoken many times about the kicking of his addiction, but that doesn’t mean he still won’t be trouble.  Two drug suspensions plus allegedly participating in a bounty system and then, after the Saints ADMITTED to the program’s existence, still deny that one existed on Favre?

Commissioner Roger Goodell is still discussing punishment for current and former Saints players for their roles in the bounty system, so it’s very possible Hargrove will not be available for the first quarter (or more) of the 2012 regular season.  It baffles me that Thompson would sign a player in free agency that is staring a lengthy suspension right in the eye.

Anthony Hargrove could do very good things for the Packers on defense, but he is not “Packer People.”  Thompson learned the ugliness of drug addiction firsthand with Johnny Jolly and it’s hard to believe he would take a chance on going down that road again.  The Packers have one of the strongest locker rooms in the NFL and Thompson should not take a chance on upsetting that.

Introducing someone like Hargrove is introducing “an unstable element to a critical situation” for the Packers.  This could be a make or break year for Dom Capers’ 3-4 scheme and the last thing he needs is a misfit like Hargrove in the locker room.

Follow your gut and your heart, Ted. It’s served you well in the past and it will serve you well again in this situation.

Just say no to Hargrove.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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26 Responses to “Anthony Hargrove: The Green Bay Packers Should Not Want Him”

  1. Robert Fischl says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 15

    • Ed says:

      Moss was not a free agent. He went to New England in a trade.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      Actually I believe the story is that the Patriots outsigned the Packers for Moss, and the biggest catch was that Moss wanted a 1 year deal and the Packers were insistent on 2. Short term, yes Moss would have likely helped, long term the team was better without him.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • PackersRS says:

      The Packers made a huge mistake by taking Tony Mandarich instead of Barry Sanders in the 1989 NFL draft.

      We’re listing past moves that are irrelevant right now, right?

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    • Richard B. says:

      The best thing the Packers did is not sign Moss. He is such a disruptive force on a team he is not worth it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. johnnypackerfan says:

    I respect this opinion, however I have to say I disagree. I thought the same thing after hearing about his off the field issues. But then i did more research and he is VERY well liked by his teammates. His coaches have very good things to say about him as well. It is a risk, but I believe that he is a good person. I think that our buddy Schneider over in Seattle would tell us if he was a bad apple. I think they just let him go because they have different needs. We will see…

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    • Oppy says:

      One could even argue that the Packers, due to the chemistry and character they have assembled in their locker room, is the -perfect- place for a guy like Hargrove… Perhaps he could be an issue, distraction, or toxic element in a weaker locker room, but a well-organized, tight-knit positive atmosphere could help him out and if he did act out, it would not be tolerated and would be squashed immediately.

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  3. Pat M says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

  4. super yooper says:

    Boooo!!!
    This team (especially Defense) needs a little spice, attitude, or fire. Call it what you want.
    Hargrove will bring to this team exactly that.
    It’s Teddy’s job to put a winning team together not to build a community of “Packer People”!!!
    U can have all the A.J. Hawks u want just give me one Lawerance Taylor!!!! BAM!!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  5. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    It’s possible for a man to change. We’re all examples. When I was 18, I thought I was THE man. I was an idiot. Now, I’m only slightly less of an idiot. :)

    That being said, how much do you want to bet that Hargrove hasn’t been signed yet because of this whole ‘bountygate’ fiasco? Him tweeting about the deal being done before he’s officially signed was just foolish on his part. I’m sure it irked TT/MM.

    IMO TT is waiting to see what punishments come down from the NFL before this deal is finalized. Assuming these punishments do come through before the draft; if he’s fined but not suspended, he’ll be a Packer. If he’s suspended TT won’t bother with him.

    And if he can play the pass and run adequately at a 5 technique at 300 lbs… and he’s not suspended… and he’s cheap…

    Then I’m all for it. But that’s a LOT of ‘ands’.

    I’d bet we move on from him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  6. BTF says:

    I tend to agree with your reservations on Hargrove Kris-though I am less sure about the whole Packer people thing. In all pro sport principle tends to be movable by need-and we do have a need at DL…

    Personally I would rather we didn’t sign him but having stated my faith in TT when he makes decisions I broadly agree with I suppose I can’t change my tune when I disagree-I trust him to weigh the risks, do due dillegence and make a decision that he feels is best for the team.

    I think if we do pass on him it is more likely to be for pratical reasons such as possible suspension rather than the more nebulous concept of Packer people..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. David Wysocki says:

    First, all I’ve read suggests Hargrove is not a locker room cancer.

    Second, Capers would probably want him because he’s a good defensive lineman. Especially if this is a make or break year for his 3-4 defense, as you argued.

    Third, how can you say that the Packers go for character guys more than any other team? This is a myth that has existed with this franchise forever. Every team wants to find character guys. But every team also picks up bad character guys if they’re really good at football. Packers are no exception.

    Just my two cents.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

    • BTF says:

      I think as fans you always want to feel that there is something special about the team you support-it gives you pride and strengthens the emotional bond without which sport is so much poorer.

      As it happens there is much to be proud of with the Packers franchise but I tend to agree that character is over played a bit. You can be a good player and teammate and still behave in a questionable manner off pitch.

      Those that run pro teams tend to be pretty hard headed-if they feel someone will improve their team moral judgements tend to be avoided..

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. johnnypackerfan says:

    Super Yooper is right…Check out this video and judge for yourself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CFEcmYNZrU

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • ThomasMagnumPI ThomasMagnumPI says:

      Great video. This man seems like a great lockerroom presence, especially for the young guys. I hope he comes as advertised and can contribute right away.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Lou says:

    Whether Hargrove is “not Packers people” in the present because he had addiction problems in the past is an empirical question and should not be determined so easily. People who kick addictions should be lauded, not permanently tainted.
    I don’t know whether Hargrove is faithful to his rehab, or if he has other issues that would cause problems, but assumptions therein are at best entitled and at worst racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  10. Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

    I actually disagree with Kris on this issue, though I understand the sentiments he and other fans share about Hargrove.

    One parallel I’ll draw from the current roster is Andrew Quarless. A lot of people were down on him due to the underage drinking incident at Penn State. However, I don’t think we’ve seen anything but hard work from him as a Packer.

    People can change, but the skepticism is understandable when so many haven’t.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  11. Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

    Chad hit my reasoning on the head. We just got burned by Jolly. Plus Bountygate is very recent. I could be wrong and if he does sign in Green Bay I HOPE I am wrong.

    Too much a crapshoot for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • ThomasMagnumPI ThomasMagnumPI says:

      Kris, I am a bit disappointed that you did not include more of the positive apsects of Hargrove, such as covering kickoffs as recently as 2010, as well as spending 10 months in rehab in an effort, hopefully a successful effort, to get drugs completely and permanently out of his life. There is a pretty good ESPN article about this.

      I think that in fairness to the player, as well as the man, this should at least have been mentioned. If you still feel strongly enough to submit a post saying that all of the character risks still outweigh the positives, so be it. I would be more convinced of your position if you mentioned that you had already considered this in your post.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. Mojo says:

    I make a great deal of distinction between people who harm others versus those who harm themselves. In Hargrove’s case it seems the
    abuse was inflicted on himself (unless there’s more we haven’t heard about), so I would be lean towards giving him another chance. If TT is seriously considering Hargrove he needs to insure the Pack aren’t on the hook if he relapses or is suspended due to bountygate.

    In other words the Pack would owe him nothing other than for services already rendered if he were to falter. If Hargrove can live with those conditions (and live in what is often a harsh winter environment), then good luck to both him and Ted.

    Considering the amount of teams he’s been on already TT needs to be sure the majority of risk in this signing is mitigated. And we haven’t even got to past performance yet which seems OK, but nothing spectacular. If Hargrove doesn’t like such terms he should seek a better offer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. indycheezhed says:

    PpP

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. cow42 says:

    signing hargrove would be less risky than keeping wynn, wilson, neal, and/or green on the roster.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. PackersRS says:

    Holding what he did as a Saint against him is a big mistake. The enviromnent he was in not only accepted but encouraged that kind of attitude.

    What should a backup DL fighting for a spot do? Go against his DC?

    And the failed drug tests happened 4 years ago. 4 years is a long enough period to assess whether he’s still a risk or not. Now, addicts never lose the addiction, I have relatives who went through it and it’s a constant battle, so there’s always a chance, in the wrong circumstances, he could use it again.

    But 4 years without getting caught is proof enough that there’re good chances he has moved on.

    Add what others have said about his locker room presence, and IMO off-field stuff shouldn’t influence.

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  16. PackersRS says:

    Unless there’s a suspension coming, that is…

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