Former Saints defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove has been thrust into a big role in the Saints’ bounty story because of two incidents during the NFC Championship Game victory over the Vikings.
Hargrove was fined $5,000 for a hit on Brett Favre during the game and it is alleged that Saints linebacker offered $10,000 to any one of his teammates who could knock Favre out of the game. Hargrove is also quoted in a Sports Illustrated story by Peter King as saying “Favre is out of the game! Favre is done! Favre is done!” after Favre briefly left the game with an ankle injury. Hargrove released a statement to SI.com Thursday dealing with both of those events and the question of a bounty on Favre in general.
Hargrove begins by making it clear that he’s only speaking for himself and not for any other Saints players or coaches. He admits he hit Favre late and admits making those comments on the sideline, saying that he was excited because he thought Favre being out made a Saints victory more likely not because he was happy to see Favre injured. From the statement:
“I have made many mistakes in my life and have paid dearly for some of them, and the late hit and the comments were both mistakes, in my opinion. But players all over the league do the same thing every Sunday, make late hits and say stupid things. But I can say with absolute certainty that neither the late hit nor the comment have anything whatsoever to do with the issue being so hotly discussed in the media.”
So Hargrove is saying that the hit had nothing to do with trying to claim a bounty and that the comments were not excitement about someone claiming a bounty, but he doesn’t outright deny a bounty existed. That’s good because the league’s evidence and the statemtents of Gregg Williams and Mickey Loomis/Sean Payton have all provided compelling evidence to the contrary.