Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove had a free agent visit with the Green Bay Packers, according to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network.
Notable free agent visits from Fri: DT Anthony Hargrove (GB), DE Matt Roth (CIN), T Barry Richardson (STL), DE Dave Tollefson (SEA)
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 24, 2012
Hargrove’s visit perhaps comes as a surprise because he’s not exactly what one would describe as “Packer people,” a term coming from head coach Mike McCarthy’s mission statement upon becoming hired by the Packers that refers to the high character and integrity he prefers in his players.
Previous to spending the 2011 season with the Seattle Seahawks where he had 18 tackles and three sacks in 15 games, Hargrove spent the the 2009 and 2010 seasons in New Orleans where he was part of the Saints’ Super Bowl winning team.
But before that, Hargrove was suspended by the NFL for one year because he violated the league’s substance abuse policy and had a run-in with the law as a member of the Buffalo Bills, situations that draw parallels to a pair of other defensive linemen who’ve worn the green and gold, Mike Neal and Johnny Jolly.
Hargrove’s career has included one eyebrow-rising incident after another since being drafted into the NFL as a third-round selection of the St. Louis Rams in 2004.
In the middle of his third year with the Rams in 2006, Hargrove had a curious unexcused and unexplained absence from practice that led to his eventual trade to the Bills.
He spent the remainder of the 2006 season and all of 2007 with the Bills, but the 2007 league year included several unfortunate incident for Hargrove. In August he was charged with several misdemeanors after an altercation with police outside a nightclub in New York. He was also suspended the first four games of 2007 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Yet another violation turned into a one-year suspension in 2008. In 2009, Hargrove was re-instated by commissioner Roger Goodell and signed with the Saints.
With Neal suspended for the first four games of 2012 and Howard Green currently being a free agent that may not return to Green Bay, the Packers could use some depth on the defensive line.
Whether the signing of another free agent defensive lineman, Daniel Muir, has any impact on the Packers’ interest in Hargrove is up for speculation.
As someone who’s listed 6-3 and 272 lbs., it’s also unseen how Hargrove fits into the Packers’ 3-4 defensive system. He’s always been a defensive lineman in the NFL, but Hargrove is more than 10 lbs. lighter than the Packers’ current lightest defensive lineman, Jarius Wynn who’s listed at 285 lbs.
Could the Packers be interested in converting a player like Hargrove or Dave Tollefson––another defensive line free agent they reportedly have interest in––to outside linebacker? Either one of those options could be more experiment than surefire solution.
If they could sign either one to a minimal contract, however, it probably doesn’t hurt them to find out.
UPDATE: Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com points out that while Hargrove is listed as being 272 lbs., he’s played close to 300 lbs. as recently as 2010.