Two of the New Orleans Saints defensive line players have signed with NFC North teams, defensive tackle Remi Ayodele signed with the Minnesota Vikings and now defensive end/defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove has decided to sign with the Chicago Bears.
Hargove’s story is well known — violent childhood raised by a drug addict mother — which eventually led to her death by the time he was nine years old.
He was adopted by his Aunt and raised, he played college football at Georgia Tech. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the third round of the 2004 draft, he lasted only two and a quarter seasons as a Ram.
Hargrove was traded to the Buffalo Bills in October of 2006, and his stay there was even shorter as he appeared in only 22 games accounting for 2.5 sacks.
After two failed drug test the NFL finally suspended Hargrove for the entirety of the 2008 season.
It was during this time that Hargrove sought out treatment for his drug addictions, rehabbing at a clinic in North Miami Beach. Prior to the 2009 season he and his agent sent out a video to all 32 NFL teams seeking a return to football.
New Orleans decided to give him a shot signing him in March of 2009. He spent training camp with the teams and was signed to the 52 man roster as a defensive tackle, a move that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams thought was more suited to his skill-set instead of his original defensive end position.
As it turns out Hargrove would have one of his best overall seasons as defensive tackle with the Saints, helping the team achieve their first Superbowl victory totaling 42 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 pass deflections and a forced fumble.
After re-signing with the Saints for the 2010 season Hargrove battled a knee injury that severely impacted his production and playing time. He appeared in fourteen games making 21 tackles and one sack.
The Saints have plenty of defensive tackles on the roster vying for playing time, which likely played a large role for Hargrove when deciding where to play for the upcoming season.
(Confliciting reports now say that Hargrove has not signed with the Bears. At the time of this writing it had been confirmed through multiple source, but as this abbreviated off-season has taught us we can’t beleive anything about a player signing until the details are done and the transaction has been reported to the league. The jury is still out – more information should come in later today.)
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