GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy wouldn’t say what the future holds for defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, but the Green Bay Packers coach did acknowledge that both Hargrove and Mike Neal will be challenged to see meaningful practice and preseason reps because of their impending suspensions.
Hargrove has been suspended for the first eight games of the season for his role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program and for lying to investigators, although he is appealing that suspension and the NFL Players Association is arguing on his behalf that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who handed down the suspension, should not oversee the appeal. Neal has been suspended for the first four games of the season because he violated the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Neal has exhausted his appeals.
Speaking Sunday as the team's three-day rookie orientation camp wrapped up, McCarthy wouldn’t address what the team plans to do with Hargrove, whom they signed to a one-year, $825,000 contract (no signing bonus) this spring in free agency. He called Hargrove's situation a “league matter” and “a new situation that I’ve been in and the organization has been in dealing with a potential suspended player coming from another team onto our roster.”
McCarthy said the coaches have already talked about how they’ll use Neal in camp because they know he’s definitely out for the first four games. McCarthy suggested they’ll wait until final word on Hargrove’s suspension before formulating a game plan for him.
While suspended, Neal and Hargrove won’t count against the 53-man roster or against the salary cap. They can participate in training camp and preseason games but must be away from the team once the preseason ends.
“It’s important for us to get the whole team trained,” McCarthy said. “The priority will be to be ready for the opening of our season with our 53 players.”
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