Heading into appeal, Anthony Hargrove maintains his innocence

Free-agent defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this coming week as part of the appeals process for the role Hargrove and three others played in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.

But Hargrove, appearing in ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” denied any wrongdoing and also claims he was truthful throughout the process. The Green Bay Packers released Hargrove, who was originally suspended for eight games, last month. Suspensions for Hargrove and the other three players were temporarily dropped after a ruling by the CBA Appeals Panel.

I don't think any of the evidence they have against myself or any other players is strong," Hargrove said on the ESPN show. "And so I've taken a stand in the beginning and I continue to have the same stand, as innocent.

"But I've just got to go by what the NFL does, and hopefully the truth will come, will come to the surface, and I'll be back to playing football.”

Hargrove received a stiff punishment from Goodell originally because the league ruled he had “actively obstructed” the NFL’s investigation into the scandal.

"I told the truth," Hargrove said. "I said the same thing then that I'm saying now, and that some players have said under oath.

“If I was guilty of a crime, which I'm not, then I would be open to it. But the fact that I'm not guilty, I don't want it reduced. I'd like my suspension taken away completely."

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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