Anthony Hargrove just may be the Saints most surprising player acquisition of this off-season.
Hargrove has impressed coaches and players with his extraordinary athletic ability and new found commitment to professional football.
Hargrove was selected in the third round (91st overall) by the St.Louis Rams during the 2004 draft. He signed a three year contract with the Rams playing strictly as reserve in 2004, totaling 31 tackles (23 solo) and recording one sack.
The following season Hargrove was awarded the starting right defensive end position, where he showcased his true potential, totaling 51 tackles (43 solo) and 6.5 sacks.
Early on in the 2006 season, after playing in only 4 games, Hargrove had a two day absence for the team without explanation. This of course did not sit well the Rams, eventually forcing his trade to the Buffalo Bills late in October of the same season.
He played in six game with the Bills never finding the same success as he had with the Rams during his 2005 campaign.
Hargrove’s role with the Bills became increasingly slim as he never started another game for the team. Hargrove saw action in 12 games as a backup in 2007 before being suspended (4 games) by the NFL for violating the substance abuse policy.
Once again Hargrove found himself in hot water after testing positive once more in January of 2008. Due to the past violations Hargrove was issued a stiffer suspension this time around and was suspended for the entirety of the 2008 season.
Hargove spent that time coping with his addictions in a half-way house where he has emerged clean, renewed, and focused on a second chance to play in the NFL.
After being re-instated by the league on February 23, 2009, Hargove was given that second chance by the Saints as the team signed him to a contract just months later.
Hargrove has shined as a Saint and excelled during the teams recent OTA activities.
Payton has raved about the talent Hargrove has displayed and has stated numerous times that he doesn’t expect him to be a character concern.
With the looming suspensions of starting ends Will Smith and Charles Grant next season, Hargrove will have his chance to fill in and show the he can make it back to his 2005 form.
Fresh out of a half-way house, if he succeeds, Hargrove could be the feel good story of the upcoming season.
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