Less than one week after being arrested for allegedly striking a police officer, Bills defensive end Anthony Hargrove has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Hargrove's suspension begins on September the First and will last for one month; he is allowed to participate in all pre-season practices and games until his suspension begins.
But does he deserve that opportunity? These were Hargrove's words just one week ago:
"I've been in the league long enough to know what not to do. It's time for me to grow up. It's time for me to be a man and take responsibility in myself."
There have been circumstances where players unknowingly take substances that contain traces of chemicals banned by the league. There have even been cases where great players are suspended and given a hero's welcome (see Shawne Merriman). But coupled with his arrest, it's unlikely that Hargrove falls under either category. I'm not exactly trusting of a guy with a track record of strange transgressions such as this. That includes his mysterious disappearance from Rams team activities last September, an incident that eventually led to his trade to Buffalo.
What Happens Next?
If I'm the GM of this team (which I'm obviously not), Hargrove is out the door tonight. The team took a chance on him after his fall-out in St. Louis, and they stood behind him after his arrest last week. Third strike and you're out in my book.
The worst part about this situation is that Hargrove could really help this team this year. I thought he played very well in last night's victory in New Orleans, where he showed solid pass rush skills and aggressiveness. He seemed to be the one depth lineman the team had that could provide any sort of spark. But that doesn't mean he's a great player by any means - in fact, he's startlingly average. A player of his caliber is not worth the distraction in my opinion (whereas a Merriman is).
Only time will tell how this will play out for Hargrove as far as a roster spot goes. The Bills have ends Eric Powell (a member of the final roster all last season) and rookie C.J. Ah You (a nice developmental player) waiting in the wings, but neither provide the immediate reward that Hargrove can. Letting him go puts the team in a bit of a bind depth-wise at defensive end, but sometimes sacrifices need to be made for the betterment of the organization. This, in my mind, is a case where the player isn't worth the headache.
Kudos to Kurupt for breaking this story first in the diaries.