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NFL roundup: Hargrove denies audio evidence in statement

The SportsXchange

Former Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove issued a statement and met with media in New York, denying that the NFL's evidence in the pay-for-performance scandal warrants suspensions for those implicated for alleged bounty scandal involvement.

Hargrove, who signed with the Packers as a free agent in the offseason, was suspended eight games for his alleged involvement in the bounty scandal. The NFL probed the Saints, confiscating physical documents, email messages and computers from the team facility in a two-year search in which former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, general manager Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton were also suspended.

Hargrove's 1,490-word statement, read, in part:

"I have sat back over the past few months and watched as the NFL has spent countless hours painting a picture that has left a lot of people convinced that myself and three other players deserve to be punished, not to mention the coaching staff and Mr. Loomis. I have asked myself a million times: why? Why on earth are they trying to make a mountain out of a molehill? I do not have an absolute answer, but I'm guessing it has something to do with image, power, and money.

"The words they have used over the months to capture your hearts and minds have been many, practiced, and calculated. But that does not make them true. It just makes them good at what they do. They are, in my opinion, master politicians."

---The Patriots released tight end Bo Scaife just 11 days after he signed with the team June 7.

Scaife, a sixth-round pick in 2006, has 62 career starts in seven seasons with the Bengals and Titans. The 31-year-old was on injured reserve last season. He was the Titans' franchise designated free agent in 2009.

He averaged 49.7 receptions per season with the Titans from 2007-09. The Patriots signed free agent Daniel Fells to back up Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski at tight end and claimed Jake Ballard on waivers from the Giants last week. Ballard, who is recovering from an ACL tear, is unlikely to play until 2013.

---Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker reportedly tried to run a fly pattern past security at a private event during the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, sparking a dust up that ended with Welker and six friends being escorted from the Patron tequila-sponsored gathering.

The New York Post reported Welker was having an unofficial bachelor party in Colorado last Friday. He attempted to enter Above the Salt, a restaurant in Aspen, but security met the group and turned them away.

According to the Post "when security tackled the group, witnesses said they still wouldn't cooperate, and demanded to be let it right away."

Welker was threatened with arrest by police, but security allegedly escorted them off the property without further incident.

Welker's well-publicized wedding to fiancee Anna Burns, who was once named Miss Hooters International, is scheduled for this weekend in Aspen.

--- Safety Michael Griffin and the Titans reached a five-year contract extension that removes the franchise designation from the two-time Pro Bowl defensive back.

Pro Football Talk reported the deal is worth just under $7 million per season.

Griffin was scheduled to earn $6.22 million in 2012 as the team's franchise player.

Keeping Griffin put the Titans in a pinch with cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who ultimately bolted when free agency opened March 13 and signed a $50 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.

--- Chad Ochocinco didn't look like a washed-up 34-year-old wide receiver at Dolphins' minicamp Tuesday.

His routes were crisp, his hands sure and his explosiveness what it was as a perennial 1,000-yard Pro Bowl receiver in Cincinnati.

In the long run, it might not mean much. After all, early reviews of the 12-year pro in New England were similarly shimmery. For his part, Ochocinco declined to proclaim himself the No. 1 receiver on a depth chart with only modest competition based on NFL production. But he was in midseason form in front of the microphone.

"The workout was good," Ochocinco said. "It's been very good the past couple of days. I'm enjoying the opportunity to come here and play at home, to play with a great organization. There's a lot of changes being made here. Coaching staff ... I'm enjoying it. I'm developing ... chemistry with the players. I'm just having fun. It feels good to have a fresh start. I'm gonna do whatever I can not only to improve my game, but to help this organization get back to where they want to be."

---The Colts signed running back Mewelde Moore and released quarterback David Legree.

Moore, who turns 30 before the start of training camp, is entering his ninth NFL season.

He played 12 games for the Steelers last season and had 22 carries for 157 yards and 11 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Moore is a highly regarded special teams player and third-down back.

---Former NFL defensive end Johnny Jolly applied for reinstatement to the NFL last week and has designs on rejoining the Packers if he's allowed back in the league this season.

Jolly, released from prison roughly six months into his six-year sentence for a drug conviction, received 10 years of "shock" probation by a judge.

Jolly, 29, is suspended indefinitely from the NFL. His contract with the Green Bay Packers was due to end after the 2011 season but the team still holds his rights.

---Wide receiver Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings said he is unhappy, although he would not elaborate, and said he will not practice with the team until training camp, according to Tim Yotter of Vikingupdate.com.

Harvin is attending the Vikings' minicamp this week, but will not work out.

"I won't get into specific issues, but we're here and hopefully we'll get things worked out, and go from there," Harvin said. "We kind of keep everything in-house. If specific people choose to tell you the stories, then they do. I keep everything in-house and we deal with stuff in-house."

---Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has been lauded for his work off the field as frequently as he's criticized for his on-field performance. Tuesday, the Pro Football Writers of America named Tebow the 2012 Good Guy Award winner.

---Veteran running back Cedric Benson could be a viable backup option to Raiders starter Darren McFadden.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Benson, who turns 30 in December, is on the Raiders' radar.

Benson is likely to come at an affordable price. He had 895 carries the past three seasons with the Bengals, more than Ravens' starter Ray Rice (852) and Falcons' workhorse Michael Turner (813).

---Ryan Leaf, the troubled former NFL quarterback, will be sentenced on Tuesday in Great Falls, Mont., after pleaded guilty last month to breaking into a house and illegally possessing painkillers.

The plea agreement calls for Leaf to be sentenced to nine months in a secure drug treatment facility, followed by time in a pre-release center as part of a five-year term with the Montana Department of Corrections for the burglary charge.

District Judge Kenneth Neill is not bound by the plea agreement, but has said that Leaf needs treatment.

---Alonzo Spellman, who played the defensive line for nine seasons in the National Football League, has been released from jail in Tulsa, Okla., after pleading no contest to a variety of charges, multiple sources reported.

Online court records indicate Spellman, who was in Tulsa County Jail, pleaded no contest on Monday to 10 counts filed in 2008. They include eluding a police officer and assault with a dangerous weapon, both felonies, plus obstructing an officer and public intoxication, both misdemeanors.

The 40-year-old Spellman was sentenced to one year in jail and was released after receiving credit for time served.
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