AUTHOR'S NOTE: By no means do I represent Mr. Hargrove or his viewpoints in any way. The use of apology in this article is more in the classic sense (Similar to Plato's dialoge Apology).
Today we got the news that Anthony Hargrove has been suspended for half the year. He received the second highest suspension of those players getting punished and received this punishment due to his participation in the program and his interference with the investigation. I offer no defense for this, no excuse, and no justification....that is for another article, another advocate, and another time. No, this apologist wishes to stand up and offer a defense and reason for Hargrove (and a lesser, but similar argument could be used for Mike Neal) to make the roster for the Packers this year.
It has been said that the Packers were looking to add some juice to their defense this year. Specifically, the Packers were looking to "juice up" the pass rush which I think all of us can agree was woeful last year. Yes this was done with through the draft; and yes there were some young guys drafted at his position who can help with that...but let's not forget what exactly Hargrove can still bring to the table. Hargrove can bring the heat. Hargrove can play with an attitude. Perhaps most of all though, Hargrove can infuse a bit of that attitude and swagger to a position group that is a bit laid back.
A football team is an interesting organization to watch from the outside. As much as all of the members of a team are grown men and all tough men, it is clear that they not all leaders and will quickly take the cues from the alpha dog. The Saints tend to carry the attitude of Drew Brees and Sean Payton; the Patriots Bill Belecheck and Tom Brady; and the Ravens pick up the attitude of John Harbaugh and Ray Lewis. The Packers follow the lead of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy. Both are intense, competitive guys....but also a bit low key. The defense could benefit from a guy bringing a bit more of an edge and aggression to the culture of the D...especially along the D-line where Raji and Pickett are both level headed low key guys as well.
Hargrove can bring this. He can bring it through training camp. He can bring it in workouts. He can bring it all the way until Week 1....and then he can bring it again in the second half of the season when the Packers are getting ready to make a playoff push. Heck, according to some reports he's already bringing it now. That is something that goes beyond a snap count and stats...it's a motivation factor and a veteran presence the defense badly needs...especially in the defensive line position.
The other main point is this...a team can never...NEVER....have enough pass rusher. This is even more true of interior pass rushers. Having Hargrove available (and perhaps even more so a fresh and healthy Hargrove coming in for the last half of the season) is going to help keep the other defensive linemen fresh and allow for the platoon rush that helped the Giants win it all again. This is cannot be undervalued. It should also be noted, as it was noted many times in the great write up Kevin put together, there is very little risk to the Packers in keeping him around. He won't get paid during this time period and he won't take up a roster spot. Really it is almost exactly like the situation with Johnny Jolly not too long ago...and I think he is still technically on a Packer roster some where.
So why cut him? Keeping him has a high potential reward with little cost. At the very least his attitude and intensity could help push players who have been a little soft (Neal and Raji) or have been rumored to have a hot and cold motor (Jerel Worthy) in camp. This would be well worth his roster spot through camp and any pay he receives then. That's the worst that could happen, with the best being a fresh body at an injury prone position coming in to offer reinforcements for a playoff push. In end isn't that enough to keep him around and give the guy a chance?