IRVING, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys released defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, two sources tell FoxSports.com, not due to any of his burdensome behavioral issues but rather because as one team executive states, “his body didn’t bounce back from a year away from football.”
Last month, the Cowboys signed Hargrove, 29, to a one-year, veteran-minimum contract hoping he could recapture the skills demonstrated when he helped New Orleans win a Super Bowl. New Orleans was also the place where he was involved in the bounty scandal, which resulted in Hargrove being suspended for the 2012 season.
“He just didn’t have the old burst back,” a Cowboys source says, noting that Hargrove hasn’t seen NFL game action since Christmas 2011. “He’s almost 30. It’s not easy to start all over again.”
Hargrove, a Rams third-round pick in 2004, has another black mark on his record as a result of a 2008 year-long suspension due to his third violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. But he passed the Cowboys’ investigation of him as a person worthy of another chance.
“It’s got nothing to do with him personally,” a team source said. “He’s a good guy.”
What Hargrove didn’t do is find a way to perform at a high level physically during OTAs. He worked on the sideline during most of the drills and clearly struggled in agility work and with conditioning. While that was happening, young backup players like Tyrone Crawford and Ben Bass were excelling. A source specifically mentioned the name of Bass – an end-of-bench youngster – as someone who was clearly going to win a job over Hargrove.