GREEN BAY, Wis. -- With an eight-game suspension hanging over his head, new Packers defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove submitted a declaration to the NFL about his involvement in the New Orleans Saints' bounty program. Hargrove played for the Saints from 2009 to 2010 and was one of four players to receive punishment from the NFL for a role in a defense that targeted certain players and tried to injure others in exchange for financial payouts.
The declaration, which was obtained by Yahoo! Sports, describes in detail of how Hargrove was told to lie to the NFL by his defensive coaches, including the suspended Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt.
"Williams said he was going to deny the existence of any bounty on any player to the NFL, and I should deny it, too," Hargrove wrote in the letter. "Coach Williams said: Those expletives at the NFL have been trying to get to me for years,"and if we all "stay on the same page, this will blow over."
Hargrove added that, prior to meeting with the NFL and lying about any bounty system being in place, Williams told him that he would be "plugged in at left end," Hargrove's prefered position, presumably for an opportunity to start. After meeting with the NFL in their investigation, Hargrove believes he was then never given an honest opportunity at that starting position.
"Coach Vitt also told me that I should deny the existence of any bounty or bounty program, and he told me to remember that he was the person who brought me into the League and brought me to the Saints," Hargrove wrote in his declaration to the NFL. "They (Williams and Vitt) told me that when the NFL asked me about any bounty or bounty program, I should just play dumb.'"
Hargrove continues on to write in his letter that he was asked by an NFL security person if there had been a bounty on Brett Favre," and as instructed by Coach Williams and Coach Vitt, I denied all knowledge of a bounty or bounty program."
A week later, Hargrove wrote that Williams asked him, "Did you stick the story?"
"I told him that I responded to all of the NFL's questions as he and Coach Vitt had instructed me: I denied any knowledge of a bounty program."
When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the suspension to the four players, including Hargrove, it was because they were participating in the "pay-for-performancebounty program."
In Hargrove's case specifically, he was punished for "actively obstructing" the league's investigation into the bounty program in 2010 by lying to investigators.
Even if Hargrove's suspension is upheld, he will be able to participate in all offseason activities, including preseason games. His eight-game suspension would begin Week 1 of the regular season, and he would be allowed to return in Week 9.
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