Former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove submitted a signed declaration to the NFL in April detailing how he was instructed by current and former Saints assistant coaches Joe Vitt and Gregg Williams in 2010 to deny the team's bounty program.
The declaration, obtained by Yahoo! Sports on Monday, was provided to the NFL by Hargrove through the NFL Players Association. A source said last week that the NFLPA submitted the declaration in hopes of proving that Hargrove and other Saints players were merely following orders by coaches. All four players appealed their suspensions on Monday.
"I don't know what the union was thinking when it provided the declaration," a source said. The source said the declaration only served as proof of Hargrove's involvement and backed up the contention by the league that other players were involved.
In the declaration, which was signed by Hargrove on April 13, Hargrove said that on approximately Feb. 24, 2010, he was called into a meeting with Williams. Hargrove alleges that Williams initially talked about football, saying that Hargrove would get a chance to start at defensive end in the following season.
Hargrove, according to the declaration, says the conversation then turned to the bounty program after Vitt joined in. Williams, according to Hargrove, said the NFL was going to come to the Saints facility to ask about the bounty program. Williams, allegedly, also said "some people thought that [Hargrove] had told then Vikings defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy about the existence of a 'bounty' on Brett Favre because" Hargrove was friends with Kennedy.
Hargrove, in the declaration, says Williams then said he was going to deny the existence of any bounty system, and that both Williams and Vitt instructed him to do the same. Williams, according to Hargrove, also said: "Those [expletives at the NFL] have been trying to get me for years" and if all the Saints "stay on the same page, this will blow over."
Hargrove said he met with an NFL security officer in March 2010 and did as instructed by Williams and Vitt, denying any knowledge of a bounty program.
According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, the league did not request the declaration from the player's association. Messages to Williams, Vitt and the NFLPA were not returned.
Hargrove said he never had any further discussion about the incident until March 2012, when NFLPA attorneys said the NFL would likely want to talk to Hargrove again.
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