The New Orleans Saints players that were involved in the now famous Bountygate scandal are eligible to play Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season after successfully appealing the suspensions handed down by commissioner Roger Goodell.
Saints players Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Cleveland Browns’ Scott Fujita, and free agent Anthony Hargrove have the ability to play this weekend if their respected teams so desire. This is obviously a huge win for the players as well as the teams they play for. However, it is still unknown how long they will be able to play for since Goodell could overturn the recent ruling after taking into account further evidence.
It is unknown if the Green Bay Packers will elect to bring back Hargrove after cutting him this preseason after realizing there was no point in keeping a player who was unable to play for half of the season. Considering there is still a chance Hargrove and the other three players could still be suspended it might not be in Green Bay’s best interest to take a chance.
On the other hand, if Hargrove is eligible to play the entire season then the Packers have to seriously consider bringing him back to the team. Green Bay signed the defensive lineman for a reason and that was to help with the horrendous pass rush from a season ago. Hargrove is also good in the run game, something the Packers have to improve on as well.
Since general manager Ted Thompson rarely brings in players through free agency, it is tough to say if he will re-sign Hargrove. The coaching staff seems to be pleased with how the defensive line has turned out and it may come down to there simply is not a spot for Hargrove on the team.
Personally, if the appeal stands and Hargrove is eligible to play the entire season with no repercussions, then I believe it would be a safe bet to bring him back to the team. Unfortunately, that would mean someone on the current roster would have to go but it also means bringing in a veteran defensive end who knows what it takes to win games when the pressure is on.