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Hargrove won't start against Lions
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Wayward defensive end Anthony Hargrove will be on the field Wednesday when the Rams resume practice. But he won't be in the starting lineup Sunday against Detroit.
"Victor (Adeyanju) is our starter," coach Scott Linehan said Monday. "Tony's got to re-establish himself ... earn some respect back with his teammates."
Hargrove, a third-year pro who had started 21 of the past 22 games, missed practice Thursday and Friday without notifying team officials. He also failed to appear Thursday for a scheduled meeting with Linehan.
Hargrove did not travel with the team to Arizona, where the Rams prevailed 16-14 Sunday at Cardinals Stadium.
On Monday, Linehan, Hargrove and Reggie Blackwell, Hargrove's marketing representative, met for about a half-hour. "I'm satisfied with his approach," Linehan said. "He's very remorseful and certainly knows he needs to make amends."
Although he declined to go into detail, Linehan said Hargrove's absences were due to personal issues. Attempts to reach Hargrove on Monday were unsuccessful.
"We're always concerned about things that happen in people's personal lives," Linehan said. "But that doesn't excuse you from doing your job. You've got to learn to separate the two and deal with them."
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett put it a bit more bluntly. "If you said everybody who has a personal issue got a couple of days off, shoot, we probably wouldn't have anybody practicing," he said.
Linehan confirmed that Hargrove, 23, would be fined a "substantial" amount. Under the NFL collective bargaining agreement, the maximum is $40,000, $20,000 per day.
Hargrove also will apologize to his teammates, Linehan said. Hargrove won't necessarily be benched for Sunday's contest vs. the Lions. The decision on what 45 players will suit up will be made later in the week.
Linehan said no serious consideration was given to releasing Hargrove.
"I don't think that would be appropriate, based on getting the facts of the situation," he said. "He's a great kid, and he knows the difference between right and wrong. We'll keep a close eye on him and hold him accountable."
Adeyanju, a fourth-round draft pick this spring, had seven tackles Sunday, according to the coaches' film review. Only safety Corey Chavous (nine) and linebacker Will Witherspoon (eight) had more.
Adeyanju's most significant stop came in the second quarter, when he hustled downfield and dropped wide receiver Anquan Boldin after a 34-yard gain. Three plays later, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe intercepted a pass at the 6-yard line.
The Rams then marched 94 yards, getting their only touchdown, a 9-yard pass from quarterback Marc Bulger to wide receiver Torry Holt.
"Victor played with great effort, great energy," Linehan said. "He didn't play like a rookie. There was no hesitation at all."
Glad for the Saints
Football is back in New Orleans, and Haslett -- the Saints' head coach from 2000 through 2005 -- said he was glad it's back.
"I know the passion they have down there for football and how much they love their team," he added. "I wish the rebuilding process was a little faster for the people there, but I think that (Monday night's) game will be a big boost at least to their mind-set."
Like many of New Orleans' residents, the Saints were forced out of town after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. The team moved operations to San Antonio, and played its "home" games there and in Baton Rouge, La.
The Saints went 3-13, and former Dallas assistant Sean Payton was hired to succeed Haslett.
Re: Hargrove won't start against Lions
I'd work Hargrove into the special teams and let him prove himself there. Regardless of what he does, though, I think Adeyanju is there to stay.