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'Salt and Pepper' link spices rookies' season

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  • 'Salt and Pepper' link spices rookies' season

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Dec. 24 2004

    One came from the deep Southeast, the other from the far Northwest. One arrived
    brimming with promise, the other with only slight hope of making the team. One
    is black, the other white.

    They met at Rams Park. And now, several months later, rookies Anthony Hargrove
    and Brian Howard are virtually inseparable.

    "That's why we call ourselves 'Salt and Pepper' - we're always together,"
    Hargrove said. "You always have salt and pepper together; you don't have one
    without the other. That's kind of how we are."

    Hargrove was the team's second draft pick in April, a third-round selection
    from Georgia Tech.

    "We felt like this was a guy that will ascend quickly," Rams coach Mike Martz
    said on draft day. "The athleticism, the speed, the strength - all those things
    that you're looking for in a pass-rusher and defensive end are there."

    Hargrove, a boisterous 21-year-old from Punta Gorda, Fla., received a
    three-year, $1,374,000 million contract that included a $442,000 signing bonus.

    Howard, a reserved 23-year-old who grew up in the Seattle suburb of Kent,
    Wash., and played college ball at Idaho, wasn't drafted. He joined the Rams as
    a free agent on April 30. After surviving the final training camp cut, he
    signed a three-year deal worth $927,500.

    Each has played in 13 games, with Howard getting a start Nov. 29 at Green Bay
    and Hargrove possibly in line for his first start Monday night against
    Philadelphia. Both see considerable special-teams action.

    As strangers in an unfamiliar city, they sought companionship. That they found
    it in each other came as a surprise to both of them.

    "You get here as a rookie and you kind of look for someone to pal around with,"
    Howard said. "During camp, we didn't really hang out much. It started more
    toward the regular season. We found out we had a lot in common, and we were
    real compatible as friends."

    Roommates on the road and neighbors in the locker room, they spend most of
    their nonfootball hours together, too.

    "He's usually the first guy I call in the morning when I get up and the last
    guy I call before I go to bed," said Hargrove, adding that they planned to
    spend Christmas Day together, probably at his house in St. Peters. Howard lives
    in an apartment about 10 minutes away. Hargrove said they've "educated" each
    other as their comradeship has grown.

    "He's showed me that Western fishing, country-life kind of thing, and I've
    showed him the wild, city-boy type of atmosphere," he said.

    Most important, they've filled voids left when they traveled so many miles from
    home to pursue NFL careers.

    "That's the best thing about it, being away from family all the time, to have
    somebody you can always call on," Hargrove said.

    In the trenches

    Left guard Tom Nutten is expected to return to the lineup Monday. Whether he
    returns to the Rams next season remains to be determined.

    "I'm here right now and, I'll take it one day at a time," Nutten said. "I've
    (considered) the question about next year, but I haven't made a decision about

    Martz lured Nutten, 33, out of a one-year retirement in late August, after
    injuries had decimated the offensive line. Toe and knee injuries kept him out
    last week, and rookie Larry Turner filled in.

    Second-year pro Scott Tercero, who made three starts at left guard
    before an injury to his right shoulder ended his season, remains in a sling
    three weeks after surgery.

    "My labrum was torn pretty bad, but they said it would heal pretty well," he
    said. "It feels pretty good. It should be almost as good as new." Tercero said
    he should be cleared to begin serious rehab in about a week.

    Cornerback Jerametrius Butler is eight hours short of a degree in
    criminal justice from Kansas State. He plans on a second career when his
    playing days are over

  • #2
    Re: 'Salt and Pepper' link spices rookies' season

    That is a nice bit about salt and pepper.... it's good to know they find friendship together within the team

    I can't help but like Hargrove. I like his attitude. I have been carrying his quote all season for some reason this year.


    • #3
      Re: 'Salt and Pepper' link spices rookies' season

      Hargrove will be a starter for this team soon. He's a playmaker and would probably be starting right now if it wasn't for injury problems.


      Related Topics


      • RamDez
        Hargrove is back where he belongs
        by RamDez
        Posted on Tue, Aug. 03, 2004_krdDartInc++;document.write('');
        Hargrove is back where he belongs

        Rookie defensive end didn't play last season

        By Steve Korte

        [email protected]

        MACOMB - A year ago, Anthony Hargrove was pushing planes away from the terminal at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta.

        Now Hargrove is pushing offensive tackle Grant Williams away from the line of scrimmage at the St. Louis Rams' training camp.

        "He's got a big wing span, but not as big as a Delta 88 or 757," Hargrove said of the 6-foot-7, 320-pound Williams.

        After being declared academically ineligible last year as a junior at Georgia Tech, Hargrove got a job as a ramp agent.

        "I'd get into a cart and push the planes out, I was a wing walker where I walked out with the plane making sure the wings didn't hit anything, I loaded and unloaded baggage," Hargrove said.

        The 6-foot-3, 269-pound Hargrove felt -- and looked -- out of place.

        "My problem was they didn't have a big enough uniform for me," Hargrove said. "I had to walk around in tight pants and a small shirt. The only fashion statement I was making was that I was just going to work every day."

        Hargrove, 21, kept himself in shape as he dreamed of playing football again.

        "I knew I didn't want to be there, I wanted to be on the field with my cleats and helmet on hitting people," Hargrove said. "I knew this is where I wanted to be, and I had to do whatever it takes to get here."

        The Rams, searching for an eventual replacement for right defensive end Grant Wistrom, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks, took a chance on Hargrove by selecting him in the third round of the 2004 NFL draft.

        Hargrove said he wasn't surprised to be drafted so high.

        "If I would have stayed in college another year, I think I would have had a chance to be a first-rounder," Hargrove said.

        Hargrove has been one of the early standouts in training camp. He has that rare combination -- a burst off the ball on the pass rush along with the strength to stuff the run -- that you need to be an every-down player at defensive end. If he can overcome the dreaded Steinke Hoo-Doo Pretty Tony curse, he should be just fine.

        "I love his ability," Rams defensive captain Tyoka Jackson said. "He's going to make mental mistakes because rookies do that, but he's working hard to get it down. When I look at Hargrove, I see a bigger Leonard Little, and that sounds pretty good to me."

        Little also sees a little of himself in Hargrove.

        "He's got all the tools to be a great player, and you know (defensive line coach Bill) Kollar is going to work with him until he becomes that player,"...
        -08-03-2004, 03:15 PM
      • RamWraith
        Storm changes the world for rookie
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        MACOMB, Ill. - More than a thousand miles away, technology brought Anthony Hargrove close to his family during Hurricane Charley. It is an experience he will never forget.

        The Rams' rookie defensive end was talking on a cell phone Friday with one of his four brothers, Shermel, when Hurricane Charley hit the Hargrove home in Punta Gorda, Fla.

        "Shermel was giving me a play-by-play, with my mom screaming in the background," Hargrove said Tuesday. "Hearing them screaming, hearing my family in the background going hysterical, it was crazy."

        During the conversation, part of the roof was blown off. Suddenly, Hargrove lost connection with his brother. "I was trying to call him all day and get back with him," Hargrove said.

        If that weren't enough, Hargrove couldn't reach his girlfriend and their 15-month old son, Tre, who live nearby.

        "I knew I had to get down there and help them," he said.

        While all this was going on, Hargrove was in the process of returning to Macomb following the Rams' preseason game with Chicago the night before. When Hargrove informed Rams officials of his problem, he was told to go home and tend to his family. He turned right around and headed back to St. Louis from Macomb, taking the first flight out Saturday morning.

        Once in Florida, Hargrove finally made contact with one of his brothers, but still couldn't reach his parents. He went to his house, where he found his parents sorting through the debris.

        Hargrove had seen reports of hurricane damage before on television. "But up close and personal, no," he said. "That's something I hope nobody ever goes through, because now everybody has to start over. The thing that really hit me hard was that we lost our house.

        "So you think, 'Well, maybe I can go down to my friend's house and stay with him for the weekend.' But then you realize they don't have a house, either. It was crazy because you were wondering where your next meal was coming from. There was no water. There was no gas. Or cars. I mean, there was nothing. It was just completely wiped out."

        As he drove down the highway in his hometown, Hargrove saw rescue workers pulling bodies out of debris, trees snapped like pencils, power lines down, and yards of homes that looked like junkyards. When he finally made it home, his heart sank. The family home was in ruins.

        "Yeah, everybody has a sunroof in their room now," Hargrove said. "The roof is gone. There's stuff sticking out everywhere..

        "It's the place I've been living at for half my life, and now to see it gone like that is just. ... There's so many things that we did there. So many experiences."

        By 7 p.m. Saturday, Hargrove...
        -08-18-2004, 05:29 AM
      • RamWraith
        Hargrove will touch down back home as a key player for Rams
        by RamWraith
        Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
        Thursday, Jan. 13 2005

        Remember that 31-7 loss at Arizona back on Dec. 19?

        That fiasco had some redeeming value, after all. On an otherwise miserable day
        for the Rams, rookie defensive end Anthony Hargrove arrived as a forceful NFL

        He made six solo tackles -- plus another tackle for a loss -- and forced a
        fumble. His seven tackles in that game equaled his total since Oct. 24.

        Hargrove’s sudden outburst in Arizona earned him the opportunity to push Bryce
        Fisher for work at right defensive end. That, in turn, inspired Fisher to play
        the two best games of his brief NFL career.

        With those two guys trying to one-up each other, defensive tackles Ryan Pickett
        and Jimmy Kennedy have also played their best football of the season. Just as
        poor play becomes contagious, it seems, so does excellence.

        “We have guys that are competing everywhere on our defensive line,” Hargrove
        told reporters at Rams Park. “I think that is why our defensive line is getting
        better. We still have that competitive nature coming in and out. You never know
        who is going to play for us. Somebody might go out this week, and next week
        somebody different.”

        Not only has the defensive line effort improved, so has the comprehension.

        “It’s understanding the schemes on defense, and understanding where I need to
        be,” Hargrove said. “What's made our defense so much better is everybody is now
        together. We're united, and we're fitting in with each other more than we have
        all year. We're playing as a real, true defense. We're playing as one whole

        Hargrove credits Torry Holt for helping get him back on track in December. The
        veteran told the kid to relax, be himself and play his game. That sounds like
        simple advice, but it was exactly what Hargrove needed to hear.

        “I couldn’t get out of this little funk,” Hargrove said. “He was like, ‘chill,
        sit back and just relax,’” Hargrove said.

        The youngster has great athletic ability and vast potential. He is big, fast
        and strong. He has tremendous hands, too. Coach Mike Martz figures he could be
        an excellent tight end -– and he’d like to exploit those skills some day in a
        goal-line situation.

        After playing so little at Georgia Tech, though, Hargrove had much to learn
        about playing defensive end. He spent last year working at Hartsfield
        International Airport after losing his academic eligibility at Tech.

        If not for the NFL, he would still be at Hartsfield, pushing jets and operating
        the ramps. But come Friday, he’ll touch down in Atlanta as a key component of
        the current and future...
        -01-14-2005, 05:33 AM
      • RamWraith
        Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over
        by RamWraith
        Monday, August 7, 2006

        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        On any given day, during any normal training camp practice, there will be plenty of chatter on the field. For the most part, that talk is relatively reserved, but every once in a while the monotony of the day to grind will be broken up by loud, shrill screams.

        Those screeches can be heard all over the field and almost always originate from the guy wearing No. 95, defensive end Anthony Hargrove.

        “He keeps us amused because he has a lot of energy,” defensive end Leonard Little said. “I have always known Tony as a high energy guy, always laughing, joking around, jumping around. It keeps us laughing, but it also keeps us loosened up out there during practice.”

        Entering his third season in the NFL, Hargrove has never lacked energy or enthusiasm for football. On a consistent basis, Hargrove has been one of the team leaders in smiles and laughs.

        What he hasn’t been consistent about is sacking the quarterback or stuffing the run at his spot opposite Little. That’s one mission that Hargrove is taking steps to correct and he believes this is the year to do it.

        “That’s how I am treating it right now for myself as a make it or break it year,” Hargrove said. “It’s my third year; I finally should hopefully be the starter and trying to do the best I can to see where it goes from there. We’ll see what happens.”

        When the Rams drafted Hargrove with their third-round choice in 2004, he had been a year removed from football because of academic issues at Georgia Tech. When he was on the field, Hargrove had been a quarterback with little experience as a defensive end.

        But his size (6-3, 269 pounds) and athleticism made him an intriguing option for any team willing to take a chance on a bit of a project for the position. The Rams took that chance and Hargrove instantly became one of the team’s most impressive athletes.

        Hargrove was dominant on the practice field with his speed and agility, but it never quite translated to game days. Sure, there were flashes of the talent, but Hargrove lacked consistency from game to game.

        Finally, at the end of last season, something started to work for Hargrove. Never a fan of film study, Hargrove became a student of the game. He finished the year on a tear, recording 4.5 sacks in the final three games including a two-sack, fumble recovery, four tackle game in the finale against Dallas.

        “I started watching more film and watching pass rushers to see what they are doing that I wasn’t doing and that’s what I tried to do,” Hargrove said. “I just tried to do what they were doing.”

        What the likes of Dwight Freeney and Michael Strahan were doing was getting to the quarterback. Hargrove made it his mission to carry the confidence gained from his finish to the season into the offseason.
        -08-07-2006, 08:28 PM
      • RamDez
        Rams rookie Hargrove sees position switch as just another challenge
        by RamDez
        Rams rookie Hargrove sees position switch as just another challenge
        Knight Ridder Newspapers

        ST. LOUIS - (KRT) - As a rookie, Anthony Hargrove wasn`t going to argue when St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz told him that he was moving from defensive end to defensive tackle.

        "I`m not going to say, `This (stinks). I`m not going to do this,"" Hargrove said. "I just see it as another challenge. Survival of the fittest, that`s what the NFL is about. Those who adapt to new situations are going to stay in this league the longest. If I adapt to this new challenge, I hope it keeps me in the league longer."

        Hargrove, a third-round draft choice this past spring, said he actually welcomes the switch if it enables him to make a bigger contribution this season.

        The Rams are set at defensive end with Leonard Little, Bryce Fisher, Sean Moran, Tyoka Jackson and Erik Flowers, but they`re short-handed at defensive tackle with Jimmy Kennedy likely lost for the season because of a broken foot.

        "Coach Martz told me in a meeting two days ago," Hargrove said. "He thinks with the way I come off the ball and the way I play, that`s a natural fit for me. I`m happy to take the challenge. I think it`s going to be a real comfortable move."

        Hargrove is working behind starter Damione Lewis at the three-technique position.

        "The biggest thing is that at defensive end you have the space to make moves," Hargrove said. "At defensive tackle when you come off the ball, the guy is into you already. Now it`s a matter of using my quickness to make moves off my first step instead of maybe my third or fourth one."

        Hargrove knows he needs to put on a few pounds - he currently weighs 280 pounds - to play defensive tackle.

        "Oh, definitely," Hargrove said. "Coach Martz said I could get up to 290 or 295 and carry it fine. They`re asking me to bulk up a little more."

        Jackson, the Rams defensive captain, said moving Hargrove to defensive tackle makes a lot of sense.

        "He`s 6-4, 285 pounds, and he`s probably the strongest dude on the team and he`s probably as fast as Leonard (Little), so, yeah, I`m cool with that," Jackson said. "He just wants to play. That`s the type of attitude he has. He`s going to make mistakes because he is a rookie, but he is going to make plays, too."

        It`s been a tumultuous week for Hargrove, whose family`s house in Punta Gorda, Fla., was destroyed by Hurricane Charley.

        Hargrove was on the telephone with his brother last Friday when the hurricane hit.

        "Hearing him screaming and hearing my family in the background going hysterical; it was crazy," Hargrove said.

        After clearing it with Rams player programs director Ray Ogas, Hargrove rushed...
        -08-22-2004, 01:03 AM