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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Anthony Hargrove suspension: Q's and A's

By Kevin Seifert

Let's run through some of the basics on the NFL's eight-game suspension of Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove in a Q&A format:

Will Hargrove appeal?

Almost certainly, yes. He has three days to file it with the NFL.

Who will preside over the appeal?

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who finalized the original suspension as well.

Will Hargrove file a lawsuit?

Anthony Hargrove
Anthony Hargrove "actively obstructed the league's 2010 investigation into the program by being untruthful to investigators," according to the NFL.
Someone will, perhaps on his behalf. The NFL Players Association said in a statement that it will "vigorously protect and pursue all options" on behalf of the suspended players. This is a potentially career-altering suspension. A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter: "Get ready for a massive multiple legal battle over this on several fronts."

When would the suspension start?

At the start of the regular season. That means Hargrove can continue to participate in the Packers' offseason program, go to training camp with them and participate in the preseason. He would be eligible to resume practicing on Monday, Oct. 29.

What does this mean for the Packers?

General manager Ted Thompson rarely signs veteran free agents, so it was fair to assume the Packers had a significant -- if not starting -- role in mind for Hargrove when they signed him. Fortunately for them, they drafted two defensive linemen last weekend, Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels.

Did the Packers know about the suspension before signing Hargrove?

No. It's reasonable to assume they thought one was a possibility, but it's doubtful they thought it would be for eight games.

Will the Packers keep him on their roster?

That's unknown at this point. They wouldn't have to pay him during the suspension and he wouldn't count against their roster. It's worth pointing out that defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said Hargrove's intensity was already having an impact on the team's defensive line in the early stages of the offseason program.

Why was Hargrove punished so severely?

The NFL is obviously sending a serious statement about the bounty issue. But of the four players who were suspended, the NFL singled out Hargrove because he "actively obstructed the league’s 2010 investigation into the program by being untruthful to investigators," according to the league's official statement.

The league said Hargrove certified that he was aware of the bounty program and that he actively participated in it. Does that jibe with a statement Hargrove sent us in March?

In the statement, Hargrove said he did not receive any money, nor was he expecting any, for a late hit on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship Game. He admitted to celebrating Favre's ankle injury during the game but said it was a mistake and added: "[D]id I personally want Favre INJURED? Absolutely and categorically NO!"

What's your take, Mr. NFC North blogger?

I think this thing is going to get much, much uglier before it goes away. What the NFL alleged about Hargrove's role, as well as that of the three other players, is career-threatening and life-altering. I don't see anyone absorbing such a blow without a legal fight. Hargrove has overcome a number of obstacles just to make it this far in his NFL career, having turned his life around following a year-long suspension for substance abuse in 2008. Remember, there are two sides to every story. Hargrove will be highly motivated to clear his name.