The NFL has accused former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove of telling then-teammate Bobby McCray to "give me my money" -- a sign league investigators say shows that a bounty was in place -- during the NFC Championship Game in 2010 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Saints defensive lineman Remi Ayodele was in the sideline huddle and seated near Hargrove when the remark allegedly was made. Ayodele, through his agent Jordan Woy, can't remember what was said.
"He doesn't recall hearing the statement," Woy wrote in an e-mail. "It was made three years ago in the middle of a huge game."
The NFL has suspended Hargrove for eight games for his role in the "bounty" program and for supposedly not being forthright during the investigation. The video evidence where this was said was cited as proof of a bounty program, according to the NFL.
As part of its overall folio of evidence against four suspended former and current Saints players, NFL investigators have used a sideline video showing Hargrove, Ayodele and other players listening to assistant coach Joe Vitt tell players that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre could have been knocked out of the game. Ayodele and McCray made the hit that hurt Favre.
The league said Hargrove can be heard saying, "Bobby, pay me my money." Hargrove and his agent vehemently denied it was Hargrove who said those words. Hargrove is obscured for part of the brief statement in the video, blocked by Ayodele.
With Ayodele claiming he can't remember what was said or who said it, the burden of proof remains on Hargrove to prove to the NFL that it wasn't him that said "give me my money." No other Saints players in that huddle have knowingly come forth to dispute or reinforce the league's claim that it was Hargrove.
The league said Saints' players and others contributed $35,000 to a bounty pool that would be paid out if Favre was knocked out of the game.
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