He never meant any harm, despite any reputation he might have developed from his checkered past. The former Seahawks defensive lineman simply wanted make a momentum-changing play.
Instead, he changed Johnny Knox's life.
"It's a very tight-knit brotherhood, playing in the NFL,'' Hargrove said in a phone interview. "Whenever you see a fellow brother go down, that's something you don't want to watch. You just sit there and pray that he's OK.''
Knox wasn't OK. And almost a year after spinal fusion surgery, the Bears receiver still isn't the same.
Last December, Hargrove and the Seahawks came to Soldier Field to face the Jay Cutler-less Bears. On the Bears' second series of the game, quarterback Caleb Hanie faced a third-and-6 from his 7.
Hanie completed a pass to Knox crossing over the middle. As Knox turned upfield, safety Kam Chancellor tipped the ball from Knox's hands, causing a fumble.
The 6-foot, 185-pound Knox quickly turned the other direction with hopes of recovering the fumble. The 6-foot-3, 282-pound Hargrove swooped in at the same time.
"I was going at top speed,'' Hargrove recalled. "I was like 20 yards away from him. I thought he was going to break down the middle of the field and I was going to chase him from behind. When I saw the ball come out, I was like, 'Oh, a chance for a fumble recovery.' ''
The two collided. Knox crumpled to the ground.
The force contorted Knox's upper body in a hideous manner. The pain was evident from the way he frantically grabbed at his helmet before the medical staff rushed to his side.
"My first reaction was, 'Oh God, I hope he's OK.' I was scared,'' Hargrove said. "You never want to hit somebody like that. You never want to put somebody in that position, to jeopardize their health.''
The severity of the injury became clear to Hargrove when Knox was carted off the field and straight into an ambulance.
"All the people in the stadium went silent,'' Hargrove remembered. "All I could do at that moment was drop to a knee and pray. I was praying that he would get up and just walk off on his own. But the fact that he seemed responsive was somewhat of a relief.''
Srdjan Mirkovic, the Bears' spine consultant and an orthopedic surgeon on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, performed a one-level vertebral fusion on Knox on Dec. 19. The initial outlook was four to six months of a recovery just to perform normal activities, and even longer before Knox could return to football.
That optimism changed when more structural damage was discovered during the surgery. Knox's back was unstable, and there were more torn ligaments than anticipated. The nerve damage couldn't be assessed until after the surgery, and Knox had to wear a back brace for a while after the procedure.
Considering how taxing the recovery process has been on him, Knox declined to revisit the incident when approached this week. He is on the physically-unable-to-perform list for the remainder of the season, although he is around the team daily.
Hargrove, now a free agent living in Florida, said he didn't understand how gruesome the injury was until he watched the replay the night of the game.
"You look at it and it just leaves you with a bad feeling,'' he said. "You never want to see that for anybody.''