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Packers player suspended for role in bounty program

Green Bay Packers' defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was suspended Tuesday, May 1, for eight games, for his previous role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty program.

He was one of four players punished by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for the system in which Saints' defensive players were paid for vicious hits and knocking offensive players out of games.

The NFL said Hargrove actively participated in the program starting in 2009 when he was with New Orleans. He submitted a signed declaration to the league, in which Hargrove said he knew about the bounty program and took part in it.

Hargrove got the second-biggest punishment among the four players affected. Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the entire season. Will Smith was given a four-game suspension, and Scott Fujita was ruled out for three games.

Hargrove, Smith, and Fujita can take part in all off-season activities and exhibition games before sitting out - in Hargrove's case, for half the 2012 regular season.

The 28-year-old Hargrove played in Seattle last year and was a free agent when the Packers signed him just over a month ago to bolster their pass defense. He signed a one-year deal for the veterans' minimum of $825,000. There's no signing bonus or guaranteed money - and technically, the Packers could cut him without hurting their salary cap.

Players can appeal the suspensions, and there's been talk that the players' union will use what legal tactics are possible to fight them.