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  1. #1
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    Rams Defensive End Apologizes, Returns to Practice Field

    Rams Defensive End Apologizes, Returns to Practice Field

    Sep 27, 6:06 PM (ET)

    By R.B. FALLSTROM
    ST. LOUIS (AP) -Wayward defensive end Anthony Hargrove returned to the St. Louis Rams' practice field on Wednesday, the first step in reclaiming his starting job and his teammates' trust.

    "Anthony spent the week in self-inflicted doghouse," coach Scott Linehan said. "He's got to work his way back.

    "I think the worst consequence is you feel you've let your teammates down."

    Hargrove was fined an undisclosed amount after skipping two days of practice and meetings last week, and did not make the trip to Arizona for the Rams' 16-14 victory. Rookie Victor Adeyanju, a fourth-round pick, will get his second start this week against the Lions at Hargrove's spot.

    Hargrove apologized to the team for his absence, but declined to shed any light on the personal issues that led him to take time off without notifying the team.


    "I play with 10 other guys and they count on me to make plays and be there, and I wasn't there," Hargrove said. "Nobody yelled at me, nobody cussed at me. Everybody gave me hugs and they were happy to see me."

    Hargrove said the personal matter was "water under the bridge."

    "It's a new week, so I'm just ready to go on," he said. "I'm not trying to relive that tale, I'm moving on. It's my personal business and I don't want to get into it."

    Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy said it was "poor judgment" that Hargrove failed to pick up a telephone and call the coaches. But he said that was outweighed by concern for the third-year player.

    "There's no welcome-back hazing," Kennedy said. "A couple of guys swung by his house to make sure he was cool, and he was all right.

    "He had to deal with some things and if he shared that with you guys, that's on him. I'm grateful that he's back."

    Defensive end Leonard Little noted that Hargrove is only 23 and left Georgia Tech after his junior season.

    "He's a young guy and he's going to make mistakes," Little said. "It's our job that when he makes mistakes to support him."

    Quarterback Marc Bulger was more circumspect.

    "I know he's lost the trust of a lot of guys, and I think he recognizes that," Bulger said. "He'll have to get it back from his coaches and his teammates. He'll have to accept those consequences."

    Hargrove said the biggest thing he learned from this episode was that he was accountable for his actions.

    "In this business we're being held on a pedestal, and whenever you mess up the whole world knows, so I learned a lesson," Hargrove said. "They counted on me to be here, I wasn't, and I had to make things right.

    "It's about being a man."

    Hargrove said he would not appeal the fine. He said he also happily took snaps with the second team and scout team

    "There's nothing to worry about," he said. "I'm here and I've got another chance to play football."


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    Re: Rams Defensive End Apologizes, Returns to Practice Field

    Back to work for Hargrove
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/28/2006

    Rams defensive end Anthony Hargrove leaps over a lineman during a game between the Rams and the Broncos.
    (Chris Lee/P-D)

    For the first time in a week, defensive end Anthony Hargrove was on the practice field Wednesday for the Rams. Only this time, Hargrove found himself at the bottom of the depth chart.

    "Anthony spent the week in a self-inflicted doghouse, I guess," coach Scott Linehan said. "He's back out there. He's just got to work his way back."

    As was the case Sunday against Arizona, rookie Victor Adeyanju worked with the starting unit during Wednesday's practice, with Brandon Green used in most passing situations. Almost all of Hargrove's work Wednesday came with the scout team, which runs the plays of each week's opponent.

    "He's kind of starting a little bit over," Linehan said.


    Hargrove was benched for the Arizona game and was left behind in St. Louis after going AWOL last Thursday. By the time he finally met with Linehan last Friday afternoon, he had missed that day's practice and meetings as well. The team is fining him for missing both days; under the collective bargaining agreement, he can be fined a maximum of $20,000 a day.

    In his first public comments since going AWOL, Hargrove provided no elaboration as to why he missed work without calling the team. But it could be nothing more than a case of Hargrove staying out late and oversleeping.

    According to sources, Hargrove was at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning with a small group of friends. The casino closes at 5 a.m., although it is not known when Hargrove left.

    Mike Knopfel, public relations manager for Ameristar, said the casino does not release names of patrons visiting the casino.

    On a routine Thursday, Rams players have a special teams meeting at 7:20 a.m., with a full-squad meeting at 8:05. For players needing treatment for injuries, aches and pains, the training room is open at 6:30 a.m. The Rams have no team curfew on weeknights, and according to a team source, aren't allowed to have one under the collective bargaining agreement.

    Linehan declined to comment on the matter Wednesday, as did Hargrove's agent, Phil Williams.

    When asked Wednesday why he wasn't at work last week, Hargrove said: "It's water under the bridge now. It's Wednesday. It's not last week. It's a new week, so I'm just ready to go on."

    When it was suggested that thousands of Rams fans were wondering about his absence, Hargrove said: "It's nothing now. ... I'm not trying to relive that tale. So I'm moving on."

    So Rams fans don't deserve some kind of explanation?

    "It's a personal matter," Hargrove said. "If you had something happen to you personally, would you want to tell the world? It's my life. It's my personal business. ... No comment."

    As expected, Hargrove did issue a brief apology to the team Wednesday.

    "He basically just said that he'd like to re-establish himself, and prove to the guys that he's sorry about the way it went, and that was really it," Linehan said.

    Hargrove said: "I just apologized for not being accountable. I play with 10 other guys on the field, and they count on me to make plays and be there, and I wasn't there."

    Coming back and facing his teammates wasn't easy, Hargrove said.

    "But it was something I had to do," he said. "They counted on me to be here, and I wasn't, so I had to come here and I had to make things right. It's about being a man and 'manning' up to your responsibilities."

    When asked what he learned from last week, Hargrove said: "You just have to be accountable. Sometimes you just have to handle situations better. In this business, we need to be accountable -- we're on a pedestal where if we mess up, the whole world knows it. So I learned a lesson."

    Hargrove said he plans to pay the fines.

    "It was nothing the coaches did," he said. "It was nothing the organization did. It's on me."

    Hargrove said he would fight to get his starting job back. But that may be easier said than done because Adeyanju and Green played well in Sunday's victory at Arizona. On Monday, Linehan said Adeyanju would remain the starter this week.

    On Wednesday, Linehan wouldn't even commit to having Hargrove on the game-day roster for the Lions.

    "We'll suit up the guys that we feel best fit our roster for Sunday," Linehan said.

    "I lost my starting job, so I'm scout team," Hargrove said. "I took all the reps, and I got in there with the defensive line, so it's not a total loss. I'm still here to compete and play. I'm not here lying down and just going to give up."

    Hargrove appears to have the support of his teammates. But in a sense, he must prove himself all over again.

    "I know that he's lost the trust of a lot of guys," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "I think he recognizes that. He'll have to get it back from the coaches and his teammates, and he'll have to suffer those consequences."

  3. #3
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Defensive End Apologizes, Returns to Practice Field

    I hope Hargrove regains the fire in his belly, along with his past enthusiaism.

    :r

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    Re: Rams Defensive End Apologizes, Returns to Practice Field

    He sounds genuinely contrite. I, for one, am willing to wipe the slate clean with Hargrove, provided there are no similar incidents in the future.

    That said, I'm not sure he's going to get his starting job back. I see in Victor Adeyanju some things that make me think he can be an above-average starter at DE. Nice to have Tony back in the rotation, though.

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams Defensive End Apologizes, Returns to Practice Field

    Avenger I agree completely

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    Re: Rams Defensive End Apologizes, Returns to Practice Field

    Let's get on with business. We now have a hungry DE rookie in Victor Adeyanju who is showing good potential and a man that is sincerely trying to mend his status as a hard working back-up DE, Anthony Hargrove.

    That's a good combination and a healthy competition. Glad to have BGreen in the mix as well.

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