Anthony Hargrove addresses bounty issue without using word bounty

Anthony Hargrove denies that he was motivated by a bounty to his Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship Game.

The former defensive end for the New Orleans Saints released a statement to Sports Illustrated, the complete text can be seen right here, and he denies any wrongdoing. Hargrove was fined after the game for an illegal hit on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported that Hargrove was also heard on the sideline during the game saying “Favre is out of the game! Favre is done! Favre is done!" after the quarterback was hobbled with a sprained ankle. It would not be surprising if the NFL is looking closely at Hargrove and many of his defensive teammates in the investigation.

“First of all, the purpose of this statement is simply to address the comments that have been made about me in the media. I will not address anything to do with anyone else but myself,” Hargrove said to SI.

“In regards to the hit I made on Brett Favre that has been talked about: it was one of about 5 times I got to him and the only one that was late. I agree it was a late hit, but in the heat of the moment I was simply trying to make a play. I can assure you that when I got up, I was thinking 2 things, one, that I cost my team, and two, that I might have just cost myself some money if the NFL fined me. To put things in perspective, I received a game ball for my play that day and yet got fined while receiving nothing and expecting to receive nothing for the play some keep referencing. Kudos to Brett, he even asked me if that was all I had! Gotta love him.

“And in regards to my comments that have been talked about where I say that Favre is done, I readily agree that it sounds bad in retrospect. A lot of things look bad when we look back and realize how they sound. Trust me, I've said much, much worse. Heck, I probably say worse every day. But did I personally want Favre INJURED? Absolutely and categorically NO! Did I feel like we, the Saints, had a better chance of being in the Super Bowl with Favre on the sideline? Of course. Would the Patriots and their fans have probably been excited to see Eli on the bench with his foot up whispering that he was done? Would players on the sideline have made comments to that effect? Right or wrong, I'm guessing yes. Probably every Saints fan, player and coach got an adrenaline rush when thinking Minnesota might be in trouble. I said what many people were probably thinking, though maybe I said it in a way that sounded a bit too excited. “Those who know me best know that I lean toward the animated side a bit. Okay, a lot! It's who God made me. I do regret saying it, though.

“I have made many mistakes in my life and have paid dearly for some of them, and the late hit and the comments were both mistakes, in my opinion. But players all over the league do the same thing every Sunday, make late hits and say stupid things. But I can say with absolute certainty that neither the late hit nor the comment have anything whatsoever to do with the issue being so hotly discussed in the media.”

So, it’s clear Hargrove wants to steer as far as he can from the BOUNTY word. We’ll see if he can avoid it when the NFL completes the investigation. Hopefully, this issue can be put to rest before the month is over.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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