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Packers' Hargrove not focusing on suspension

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Rumors were circulating leaguewide Monday morning that Saints LB Jonathan Vilma’s season-long suspension for his involvement in the Saints’ bounty scandal could be reduced.

However, Packers DL Anthony Hargrove isn’t getting his hopes up just yet that his impending eight-game suspension in connection with "Bountygate" could also possibly be shortened. He's concentrating much more on just getting used to being a member of the Packers.

“I’m just getting ready to play, trying to be fresh and accountable,” the veteran defensive lineman said in a noon interview session before the Packers’ full-pads practice scheduled for Monday evening.

Green Bay is Hargrove’s fifth team in eight seasons. Since signing with the Packers March 30, he has provided a breath of fresh air with his infectious energy while working on a relatively limited basis with the third- and fourth defensive units in practice.

“At first, it was somewhat overwhelming,” said Hargrove, a mainstay in the Seahawks’ nickel package last season. “There is just so much history here. I’ve never been part of a team that involves the community so much. It’s so amazing.

“I feel like I’ve fit in quickly with the guys. It’s great to be back again with (Ryan) Pickett (a former teammate with the Rams) again. I wanted his opinion on how much he thinks I’ve grown up. I spend a lot of time with him and (WR Donald) Driver.

Does Pickett think Hargrove has matured?

“Oh, yeah. He mentions how much of a wild boy I was in my younger days,” said Hargrove, who played his way back into the league after overcoming drug addiction. “He says I’m a lot mellower with age.

“The record speaks for itself. I didn’t always make the best choices when it came to football and life. Now, everything is in balance. Now I come to work and try not to worry about outside stuff, even though the whole bounty thing is hanging over me. I’m 29 now, and I’ve been able to push ahead and use the tools the NFL has given me.”

• Packers PK Mason Crosby couldn’t be happier about special-teams soul mate Tim Masthay’s brand new four-year, $5.465 million contract extension.

The 25-year-old Masthay, who is Crosby’s holder in addition to being a steadily improving punter at the pro level, received a $1.2 million signing bonus as part of his new deal.

“It’s awesome. I’m so happy for Tim,” said Crosby, who turned his own performance up a notch last season after signing a five-year, $14.75 million deal. “It’s important for us as a unit to have that confidence that we’re going to be together for a long time and keep working toward something great. Obviously, we took a big step forward last year.”

Crosby also made a point of acknowledging veteran LS Brett Goode.

“Obviously, it all starts with Brett,” Crosby said. “He’s been automatic since he’s been here, so consistent. We feel really good as a unit, and right now, we are extremely picky. After every snap, every hold, if my kick is not exactly right, we’re not happy. We’re trying to make sure everything is dialed in. Once the season starts, we want to be perfect.

“Again, I’m just really happy for Tim. It will be great playing with him for hopefully a lot of years.”

• How good is undrafted rookie OLB Dezman Moses, who has earned consistently strong reviews this offseason?

“He’s real good,” said fellow LB Jamari Lattimore, who also continues to make a strong impression in his second season as an inside backup. “I like him a lot. When he rushes the passer, he don’t mess around. And he works real well with his hands.”

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