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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Bounty suspensions validate DT decision

By Mike Sando

The Seattle Seahawks appreciated Anthony Hargrove's contributions to their defense in 2011, including the pivotal safety Hargrove provided during a comeback victory over the New York Giants.

That the Seahawks decided to replace Hargrove with veteran free agent Jason Jones this offseason appears fortuitous now that the NFL has levied an eight-game suspension against Hargrove for his participation in the New Orleans Saints' bounty program.

The NFL announced its bounty investigation March 2. Seattle reached agreement with Jones two weeks later. Hargrove signed with Green Bay in late March.

Hargrove, who defended his play with the Saints in a statement earlier this offseason, signed with Green Bay, where the Packers expected him to fit well. The league hammered him in a statement released Wednesday:
"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."

The NFL also suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season. Will Smith received a four-game suspension. Scott Fujita received a three-game suspension.

"Fujita, Hargrove and Smith may participate in all off-season activity, including preseason games, prior to the suspensions taking effect," the NFL said." Each player disciplined today is entitled to appeal the decision within three days. If an appeal is filed, Commissioner [Roger] Goodell would hold a hearing at which the player may speak on his behalf and be represented by counsel."