Thompson working to upgrade Packers' rush

Thompson working to upgrade Packers' rush

Published Mar. 30, 2012 10:20 a.m. ET


The Green Bay Packers have signed free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and general manager Ted Thompson might not be done.

As of Thursday afternoon, another free-agent defender, Dave Tollefson, was en route to Green Bay to meet with the Packers.

Tollefson was a seventh-round draft choice by the Packers in 2006 but never played a snap for them, spending the entire season on the practice squad. Tollefson played in NFL Europe and opened the 2007 on the Raiders' practice squad before being signed away by the Giants. He played in six games for New York in 2007 and spent his past five seasons there. His five sacks last season matched his career total.

Tollefson (6-4, 266) would line up at outside linebacker for the Packers. He did some of that with the Giants, lining up everywhere from nose tackle to defensive end to even some outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. Tollefson played outside linebacker at Los Medanos Community College in 1999 and 2000 before signing with Fresno State to play defensive end.

However, he missed the next three seasons because of a torn labrum, separated shoulder and sprained foot, all of which required surgery. He even spent one year working in Home Depot's garden center and another year as a carpenter. A former junior-college teammate suggested he give football another try at Division II Northwest Missouri State. After two productive seasons, the Packers selected Tollefson in the seventh round. Not that Tollefson knew: He was competing in a bass fishing tournament.

Tollefson, who will turn 30 on July 10, is coming off his best season, with his five sacks being almost as many as the combined six from Erik Walden (three), Brad Jones, Vic So'oto and Frank Zombo (one apiece).

Hargrove, a defensive end who visited Green Bay on Friday, would provide an upgrade to the Packers' interior pass rush, where the Packers got almost nothing from Jarius Wynn and the suspended Mike Neal. In eight seasons, Hargrove has recorded 19.5 sacks, including three last season with Seattle, five with New Orleans in 2009 and 6.5 in 2005 with St. Louis.

Hargrove was suspended for the entire 2008 season because of his third violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. While suspended, Hargrove spent 10 months at Transitions Recovery Program in North Miami Beach to turn his life around -- a period he talked about with The New York Times Hargrove played in Super Bowl XLIV with the Saints.

Hargrove, who will turn 29 on July 20, has been linked to the Saints' bounty program and could be facing a suspension from the league. At the NFL meetings this week, commissioner Roger Goodell said he was preparing to meet with the NFLPA to mete out punishment for those involved.

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