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NFL suspends Hargrove for season after 3rd substance abuse violation

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills defensive end
Anthony Hargrove was suspended without pay for all of next season Monday by
the NFL after violating the league's substance abuse policy a third
time.

The violation was Hargrove's second since August, when he was
suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular
season.

A third violation triggers an automatic one-year suspension, and
Hargrove must apply to commissioner Roger Goodell for
reinstatement.

The NFL did not disclose how Hargrove violated the policy.
Violations can result from positive tests, failure to cooperate in
the testing program or failing to comply with a treatment plan.

Hargrove's agent, Philip Williams, was out of the country and
not immediately available for comment.

The Bills declined comment beyond issuing an NFL release
announcing the suspension, which came three weeks after Buffalo
(7-9) completed its season.

Though Hargrove has said he hoped to re-sign with the Bills, his
future in Buffalo was already uncertain. He has completed his
one-year contract and was eligible to become a free agent this
offseason.

In 12 games last season, Hargrove finished with 46 tackles and
1½ sacks, and proved to be a capable backup behind starters
Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay.

Outgoing and well-liked by his Bills teammates, Hargrove has
been unable to stay out of trouble during a five-year NFL career,
including the past two with Buffalo.

A week before he was suspended in August, Hargrove was involved
in an altercation with police outside a Rochester nightclub during
an off-day at Bills training camp in nearby Pittsford. That
resulted in a $300 fine, and Hargrove was ordered to perform 200
hours of community service after pleading guilty to disorderly
conduct.

Hargrove has said he regretted his actions.

The Bills acquired Hargrove, a 2004 third-round selection out of
Georgia Tech, in a trade with St. Louis in October 2006, soon after
he lost his starting job with the Rams for skipping two days of
practice and meetings.