Richie Incognito’s exile from the NFL appears to be over, thanks to the Buffalo Bills.
The veteran guard mostly known for his involvement in a bullying scandal while with the Miami Dolphins in 2013 reached an agreement in principle on a one-year contract with the Bills on Saturday night.
Incognito, who will be 32 at the start of next season, sat out all of 2014 after his controversial tenure with the Dolphins ended. He was suspended for the second half of the 2013 season after former teammate Jonathan Martin accused him of a pattern of harassment, including the use of racial slurs.
Incognito claimed he and Martin were friends, but an independent investigation into the matter found Incognito – as well as former teammates Mike Pouncey and John Jerry – engaged “in a pattern of harassment” directed at both Martin, another unnamed teammate and an assistant trainer.
Incognito’s issues aren’t limited to just his interactions with Martin. In fact, they date back to his college days at Nebraska. A pattern of fighting, against both teammates and opponents, eventually led to him leaving the school.
Since arriving in the NFL, he’s been named the “dirtiest player in the NFL” by various player polls of NFL players.
During the investigation into his time in Miami, it was also revealed he had molested a woman during a charity golf tournament in 2012.
After the findings in the investigation were released, Incognito took a baseball bat to his own Ferrari. Shortly thereafter, he sought mental-health treatment.
Incognito had workouts with the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs last season, but none of those teams signed him.
So why did the Bills?
The simple answer is, the team needs help at the position he plays. Right guard Erik Pears is a pending unrestricted free agent, and the left guard position was a revolving door between Chris Williams, Cyril Richardson and Kraig Urbik in 2014 – none of whom impressed.
Incognito, a 6-foot-3, 319-pounder, has played in 102 games during his nine-year career, starting every one, including a three-game stint with the Bills in 2009. During his last full season in 2012, he made the Pro Bowl.
“We’re going to build a bully,” new Bills coach Rex Ryan said at his Jan. 14 news conference, “and we’re going to see if you’re going to play us for 60 minutes because we’re going to give everything we have every snap out there.”