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Bills DE Hargrove pleads not guilty, apologizes

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (Aug. 6, 2007) -- Buffalo Bills backup defensive end Anthony Hargrove pleaded not guilty to several misdemeanor charges stemming from a weekend confrontation with police outside a nightclub.

"I apologize for this. I need to hold myself up better than this," Hargrove said after he rejoined the team for evening practice. "I've been in the league long enough to know what not to do. It's time for me to grow up. It's time for me to be a man and take responsibility in myself."

Hargrove missed the team's morning walkthrough at training camp in suburban Rochester, and was scheduled to appear in court again the morning of Aug. 9. The hearing was not expected to prevent him from traveling with the Bills that day for their preseason opener Aug. 10 at New Orleans.

Hargrove was charged with harassment, resisting arrest and criminal mischief after an altercation outside a Rochester nightclub early Aug. 5. According to police, Hargrove was arguing with a bouncer when police arrived. He is accused of shoving an officer in the face and breaking his glasses.

Hargrove said he never struck an officer, and added: "As this thing develops, it'll show that I will be innocent."

"This is a great organization," Hargrove said. "Thurman Thomas just got put in the Hall of Fame, and now they have to deal with some idiot kid making mistakes outside the field."

Coach Dick Jauron said he was disappointed with Hargrove's arrest, but added the team has not determined whether it will take disciplinary action against the fourth-year NFL player.

"At this time we are gathering all the available information so that we can make the most appropriate decision," Jauron said after the morning walkthrough. "Anthony is not guilty of anything at this point."

Jauron said the team has notified the NFL of the player's arrest, and noted that Hargrove could face league punishment for violating its code of conduct policy.

Police said Hargrove's brother, Terrence Hargrove, joined in the confrontation and was charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. Terrence Hargrove also pleaded not guilty.

The player was released on $1,100 bail in the afternoon. The Bills were off Aug. 5, their first break since opening camp on July 26.

According to witness statements filed with court documents, police were breaking up a large crowd when Terrence Hargrove drove a large SUV the wrong way on a one-way street. Terrence then became verbally combative with an officer, which is when a person matching Anthony Hargrove's description joined in, a witness said.

The officer whose glasses were broken said Anthony Hargrove resisted arrest "by swinging his arms at officers, kicking his feet at officers, and refusing to place his hands behind his back for handcuffing."

Hargrove is entering his second season with Buffalo after the Bills acquired him in a trade with St. Louis in October. He appeared in 10 games with Buffalo last season and was expected to continue his role this year as one of the team's two primary backups.

A restricted free agent this offseason, Hargrove was re-signed by the Bills to a one-year contract.

Hargrove said he learned a lesson after what happened.

"Just stay home. Going out and having fun, it's not worth it," he said. "I'm in training camp. I need to be smarter than that."

Before he was traded to the Bills, Hargrove lost his starting job with the Rams after skipping two days of practice and meetings. The third-round selection out of Georgia Tech in 2004 failed to show at Rams Park on successive days in September 2006 and was fined an undisclosed amount. He apologized for his absence but did not say why he took time off without notifying the team.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2007, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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