The Packers cut him on Friday evening rather than wait for him to complete his NFL-mandated eight-game suspension for his role in the affair.
Hargrove was among the several current and former Saints players and coaches whom Commissioner Roger Goodell cited this spring as having participated in the infamous bounty program that offered financial incentive to knock opposing players out of the game.
The former Georgia Tech star has long maintained his innocence, accusing the NFL of lying about his involvement. The league has insisted that Hargrove was heard on tape saying “Give me money” after the team was told that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre had suffered a broken leg in the 2009 NFC Championship game.
Hargrove has maintained that the voice heard was not his, but the league has remained unmoved.
“It wasn’t me” he said in a statement released in June. “That’s right. The NFL got their evidence all wrong. In their rush to convict me, they made a very serious error. … Like I said, lean in closer, look closer, listen closer. It is not my voice, Anyone who knows me well knows that it’s not me. But the NFL does not know me well. They simply make assumptions. With … my … life.”
The Packers signed Hargrove on March 30 as an unrestricted free agent, well before the NFL handed down its punishment for the “pay-to-play” scandal a few weeks later.
The team knew some kind of punishment was headed Hargrove’s way, but apparently feel now that he isn’t worth the headache. Hargrove was among five players the team cut Friday as it works its roster down to the 53-man limit by 7 p.m. next Friday.
Green Bay had the option of retaining Hargrove’s rights as he sat out the first eight weeks of the season without counting him against the 53-man roster. The team would have had a week or so to decide what to do with him when his suspension was complete.
But it was obvious with the lack of playing time that Hargrove was receiving in the preseason that the Packers were having buyer’s remorse and had little interest in his services.
Hargrove will be free to sign with any team in the league after his suspension is over.