A document signed by Hargrove was released to the public Monday detailing inside information regarding the bounty scandal. Hargrove admitted he was instructed by both coaches to lie to the NFL and deny any knowledge about the bounty program. For this, Hargrove would be the starting defensive end for the Saints in 2010. Hargrove would later go on to say that Williams never gave him the opportunity to become the starter.
Williams and Vitt informed Hargrove the NFL was coming by the New Orleans facility to question certain players about their involvement in the alleged bounty scandal. The NFL was investigating a complaint from the Minnesota Vikings about a “bounty” that had been put on Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship game. There is speculation the Vikings received this knowledge from player Jimmy Kennedy after he had a conversation with Hargrove, who is a close friend.
Williams and Vitt told Hargrove they were going to deny the existence of bounties and that he should do the same.
Coach Williams said: “Those motherf—kers [the NFL] have been trying to get for years,” and if we all “stay on the same page, this will blow over.”
Coach Vitt said: Remember that he was the person who “brought [Hargrove] into the League and brought [Hargrove] to the Saints.”
Williams and Vitt repeatedly stated that they “care about [Hargrove], and…if we all stay on the same page about this, it will blow over.”
In March 2010, Hargrove met with NFL security officials and “played dumb.” He did not indulge the NFL with any valuable information and repeatedly denied knowledge of the bounty program. Hargrove repeatedly says in his declaration to the NFL (signed April 13, 2012) that he was following orders by his then coaches.
The NFL Players Association informed Hargrove mid-March of this year that NFL security officials were going to want to interview him again. The NFLPA submitted Hargrove’s declaration with the hope of proving the Saints players were following instructions given by their coaches. This was of course a major blunder by the NFLPA because it further proved New Orleans did employ a bounty program. It also influenced the NFL’s punishments for the players because it proved their involvement.
Hargrove was put in a difficult position by coaches who controlled his fate on the team. Had Hargrove come clean in the first interview with the NFL he would have most likely received a bare-minimum suspension of three games. However, because he blatantly lied to NFL security officials, and indirectly to commissioner Roger Goodell, he received an eight-game suspension. This is a fair penalty as Hargrove is lucky he did not receive a one-year ban like teammate Jonathan Vilma did.