Why suspended player is upset with the NFL

756962.jpg

Why suspended player is upset with the NFL

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Suspended former Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove says he is disappointed his sworn statement regarding the NFL's bounty investigation was leaked and also that the league has "grossly mischaracterized" his words. In a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Wednesday by his agent, Phil Williams, Hargrove said he hoped the NFL would not discuss the signed declaration publicly. "Call me naive, but I did not expect them to publicize the fact that I had sent them the Declaration.' But since they did, and because they grossly mischaracterized my words, it obviously became a hot item and subsequently was leaked by someone," Hargrove's statement said. Hargrove's declaration explains how ex-Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and current assistant head coach Joe Vitt instructed him to deny the existence of a bounty program in New Orleans when he was interviewed by NFL investigators in March of 2010. Hargrove acknowledges that he acted on Williams' and Vitt's instructions to "play dumb" if asked whether he was aware of bounties being placed on former Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre or any other player. The declaration does not go into specifics, however, about just what Hargrove knew or did not know about the bounty program in New Orleans, and for that reason it has become a point of contention between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. From the union's perspective, Hargrove's statement does not say that he lied to anyone, nor does it state that he or any other Saints participated in a bounty program that offered cash bonuses for hits that injured targeted opponents. The NFL, by contrast, has said that Hargrove's words acknowledge the existence of a bounty program and show that Hargrove initially lied to NFL investigators about it. "The intent of the Declaration' was to let the NFL know exactly what happened in March of 2010," said Hargrove's latest statement, which he also sent to ESPN. "I do not know who leaked it, but I would have preferred for it to remain private between the NFL and me."

Quick Links

Pressure Points: New position should lead to more playmaking from Su'a Cravens

Pressure Points: New position should lead to more playmaking from Su'a Cravens

In the weeks leading up to training camp, Redskins Insider JP Finlay will look at specific people facing increased pressure for the 2017 season. 

Pressure Point: Strong safety Su'a Cravens

Cravens flashed his playmaking ability in spots during 2016, but finding the right position and injuries stunted his impact as a rookie. He lost time early in the year to a concussion against the Browns and then saw his season cut short after an arm injury in December in Philadelphia. 

Injuries can't be planned on, but in 2017, the position issue should be solved.

Cravens looks poised to open the season starting alongside D.J. Swearinger in the Redskins secondary. The rebuilt safety duo could go a long way towards an improved Redskins defense.

Swearinger established himself as a quality starter last year playing with the Cardinals. Pro Football Focus rated him the No. 8 safety in the NFL. For Cravens, however, this is the year to establish himself.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

So far, Redskins coach Jay Gruden likes Cravens' developement.

"He’s doing a great job. We’re happy with his progress," Gruden said in June. "I think just the more he plays, the better he’s going to get. The more he can just go practice and watch himself on tape and watch his eye progression and his angles, that’s just going to be huge for him because he continues to develop."

One of the reasons he slipped out of the first round in the 2016 Draft was because of speed. At his USC Pro Day, he ran a 4.69. Is Cravens fast enough to play safety in the NFL? 

His 40 time might not suggest it, but the Washington secondary is not full of burners anyway. In fact, linebacker Zach Brown's 4.50 40 time at the NFL Combine was faster than any of the Redskins projected secondary (Cravens, Swearinger, Josh Norman or Bashaud Breeand). The Redskins coaches think proper positioning and communication will account for any lack of speed in their defensive backfield. 

In college at USC, Cravens played mostly safety but showed he could line up all over the field. In Washington last season, he played almost exclusively interior linebacker, mostly in dime and nickel situations.

He produced, 23 tackles and an interception in 11 games, but it seemed clear to all parties he was better suited for the secondary. Asked about Cravens late last season, one Redskins player said simply, "Su'a is a safety."

This year, Su'a is a safety.

Week 3 as a rookie, Cravens made arguably the most important play of the Redskins season, intercepting Eli Manning to secure the team's first win of the year. That pick showed exactly why the Redskins drafted Cravens. He was tight in coverage and made a leaping, athletic play on the ball to force the turnover.

As a strong safety, Cravens will inch up towards the box on plenty of snaps and will rarely, if ever, be wholly responsible for deep middle coverage. That should mean plenty more opportunities to make plays like he did in Giants Stadium. The pressure is on.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward headline top 20 players set to be available in 2017 NBA free agency

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward headline top 20 players set to be available in 2017 NBA free agency

NBA free agency technically does not begin until July 6 when teams can sign players, but on July 1 the league will commence a five-day moratorium when contracts can be negotiated. Some of those players will be restricted free agents if their teams make qualifying offers by the June 30 deadline. In those cases, offers can be matched to retain a player's rights.

Here is our ranking of the top 20 players set to hit free agency. The list does not include Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry, both of whom are certain to re-sign with the Warriors.

CLICK HERE FOR TOP 20 NBA FREE AGENTS GALLERY

1. Chris Paul, PG, Clippers 

Paul, 32, led a very good Clippers team that had hit a wall in the Western Conference. If winning is important, his best bet may be heading East.

2. Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers

Like Paul, Griffin could be on his way out of Los Angeles. At 28, a long-term deal could take him through the rest of his prime.

3. Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz  

The Celtics and Heat have already been linked to Hayward in rumors. He's the best swingman available this summer.

4. Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors

Lowry has already been linked to the Rockets. He's a legitimate All-Star who could help a lot of teams.

5. Paul Millsap, PF, Hawks

It will be interesting to see what type of deal Millsap gets at age 32. He's a very good player, but for how long?

[RELATED: Winners, losers, sleepers from 2017 NBA draft]

6. Serge Ibaka, C, Raptors

The best rim protector in this class, Ibaka should have plenty of interest.

7. Otto Porter, SF, Wizards (RFA)

It's unlikely the Wizards let Porter walk, though he should have some real suitors in restricted free agency.

8. Jrue Holiday, PG, Pelicans

The Pelicans are expected to do what they can to retain Holiday, who is still only 27. What if they can get Lowry, though?

9. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Nuggets

Gallinari averaged 18.2 points per game last season, but he's never been very efficient.

10. Nerlens Noel, PF, Mavs (RFA)

The Mavericks are intent on keeping Noel, who at 23 has as much potential to get better as anyone on this list.

CLICK HERE FOR TOP 20 NBA FREE AGENTS GALLERY

[RELATED: Brooks reminisces about Durant, 1st season in D.C.]

11. George Hill, PG, Jazz

Hill had his best season in 2016-17, but is 31 and it's a deep class of point guards.

12. Pau Gasol, C, Spurs

Gasol, who turns 37 in July, is likely to return to San Antonio.

13. Jeff Teague, PG, Pacers

Once an All-Star, Teague could be a nice bargain compared to Paul, Lowry and the big name point guards available.

14. Andre Iguodala, SF, Warriors

There have been conflicting reports on whether Iguodala will leave Golden State. At 33, this could be his last multi-year deal.

15. J.J. Redick, SG, Clippers

There should be a good deal of interest for Redick who can still start at age 33.

[RELATED: Wizards remain intent on signing Porter and Wall to new deals]

16. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Pistons (RFA)

If the Pistons let KCP go, he could offer a nice option for a team looking for a guard with upside. He does have some off-court concerns, though.

17. Mason Plumlee, C, Nuggets (RFA)

Perhaps Denver will want to bring Plumlee back just to save face on the Jusuf Nurkic trade.

18. Rudy Gay, SF, Kings

He turns 31 in August and ruptured his Achilles in January. Gay would probably be best served with a one-year deal to reset for next summer.

19. Derrick Rose, PG, Knicks

It will be interesting to see how much money Rose, who turns 29 in October and has dealt with all sorts of injuries, will get.

20. Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Hawks (RFA)

Hardaway had a breakout season for the Hawks and is just 25. It's hard to see Atlanta letting him go.

CLICK HERE FOR TOP 20 NBA FREE AGENTS GALLERY

[RELATED: 2018 NBA Mock Draft - The Lottery Edition]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES