By Jim Thomas
Friday, Sep. 22 2006

As of Thursday morning, coach Scott Linehan had more to worry about than just
his sputtering Rams offense. Defensive end Anthony Hargrove was AWOL from
practice Thursday, and it took Rams officials the better part of the day to
locate him.

"It's not an excused absence," Linehan said following practice. "As soon as I
get to the bottom of why -- first, make sure everything is OK with Tony -- then
I'll comment on it. But he was not at practice. For what reason I do not know
to be honest with you."

During the half-hour or so that practice is open to reporters, Hargrove's
absence was noted. But players missing practice isn't all that unusual. Since
the start of training camp in late July, the Rams have had several players miss
practice because of a birth, a death or an illness.

Hargrove's absence apparently falls into none of those categories. When
addressing reporters following practice, at about 1 p.m., Linehan said several
Rams employees had unsuccessfully tried to contact Hargrove.

"No success at this point," Linehan said at the time. "Hopefully, we will get
some kind of contact before the end of the day."

Apparently, contact was made with Hargrove later in the afternoon.

Hargrove, a three-year veteran from Georgia Tech, lives in the Cottleville area
of St. Charles County. According to Cottleville Police Chief Scott Lewis, the
Rams called the Cottleville Police Department Thursday morning to see if it had
knowledge of any incidents involving Hargrove.

Lewis checked and informed the Rams that there had not been any incidents
involving Hargrove. The Rams then called the Cottleville P-D at 2:30 p.m. to
report they had located Hargrove at his home, according to Lewis.

Hargrove could not be reached for comment. Linehan could not be reached for
comment later in the day. However, team sources said Hargrove was scheduled to
meet Thursday night with Linehan.

When asked after practice if Hargrove would be available to play Sunday in
Arizona, Linehan said, "Too early (to tell)."

In practice Thursday, rookie Victor Adeyanju worked in Hargrove's place with
the starting defensive unit. Brandon Green, who was inactive against Denver and
San Francisco, also worked in some of the defensive packages the Rams are
planning for the Cardinals.

When asked about the possibility of starting against Arizona, Adeyanju said,
"You've got to talk to La'Roi Glover about that."

La'Roi Glover?

"I put the entire defensive line under strict no-comment rules as far as
(Hargrove) is concerned," Glover said. "So no comment."

When asked if he took it upon himself to issue the "no comment" edict because
he is one of the team captains, Glover replied:

"Team captain, sure. Older veteran, sure. Just being a guy who's been around a
lot. Because we don't know (about Hargrove). If you don't know, don't put your
foot in your mouth. Just say you don't know and no comment."

Several other players, when quizzed by reporters and through team sources, said
they had no idea of Hargrove's whereabouts.

If it comes down to Adeyanju starting against Arizona, Glover said: "We believe
in him. We have confidence in him. And I think he'll be ready."

In his coaching experience, Linehan said, "it's rare" for a player not to show
up for practice without calling the coaching staff.

In past years, the Rams have had a couple of highly publicized incidents
involving players who didn't show up for work. There was the "Babygate"
incident in 2000, when defensive end Kevin Carter didn't phone Mike Martz to
ask for permission to miss practice because his wife was having a baby.

And in 1998, quarterback Tony Banks did not accompany the team back from Miami
following a game with the Dolphins.

Susan Weich of the Post-Dispatch staff contributed information for this story