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Jerry Sullivan: Incognito seems like a lost, damaged soul

I can't say for certain whether Richie Incognito is done playing for the Bills. But there could be another job waiting if he does retire. Come on, boorish behavior? Erratic tweets? The guy could run for president in 2020.

Yes, it keeps getting weirder with Richie. Late Friday, just three days after announcing that he was retiring from football for health reasons, Incognito tweeted that he would be in Buffalo on Monday for the Bills' offseason program.

The tweet reads: "@BuffaloBillsPR That was a short lived retirement. See you Monday for off season program. #madeyou look"

Presumably, he was joking. Ha ha. I'm sure the Bills are amused. It was bad enough when he embarrassed the organization after being accused of making comments about the "ethnicity" of the Jaguars' Yannick Ngakoue in the playoff game in January. Now he's jerking them around about his retirement.

"Made you look?" What is this, third grade?

When was the last time you heard that expression uttered by an adult? That's the point, of course. We're dealing with an overgrown child here, throwing spitballs at the team that took a chance on him when he was in exile from the NFL for bullying a teammate in Miami.

Richie Incognito says he's 'done' with football, cites health issues

You have to feel for Bills management. While preparing for the most important draft in more than 30 years, they've had to deal with not one, but two, odd situations. Lest we forget, there are still unresolved questions about Zay Jones' bloody penthouse episode in Los Angeles last month.

Jones, a second-year player with no history of dubious behavior, gets the benefit of the doubt. Bills coach Sean McDermott called the incident "unfortunate" and "disappointing" and said he does not expect the team to discipline Jones. McDermott said the Bills' goal was to "help Zay and work with him."

Incognito gets no such benefit. He has been a serial problem child for much of his football career before the Pegulas and Rex Ryan gave him a chance to play left guard in Buffalo in 2015.

It went well for both parties. Incognito helped the Bills lead the NFL in rushing over a three-year period and became an engaging spokesman in the locker room. Oh, he still made the occasional off-color remark in the presence of reporters. When you looked in his eyes, you seemingly saw a man teetering on the brink.

Incognito told Vic Carucci he feared for his health when he decided to quit. He said his kidneys and liver were shutting down, presumably because of his high-protein diet.

I'd be more concerned about Incognito's mental health. His recent bizarre behavior suggests an unbalanced state of mind. After taking a pay cut, he used Twitter to fire his agent, David Dunn, one of the more respected agents in the NFL. Then he retired, which puts him in a position to likely have to return bonus money to the Bills.

The Bills have not commented on Incognito's retirement or subsequent tweets. McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane are scheduled to meet the media Monday.

Richie Incognito uses Twitter to fire agent

He could have refused the pay cut, forcing the Bills to cut him and preserving his bonus money. He's been making a lot of rash decisions lately, the sign of an unstable person. Some believe the retirement was triggered by the pay cut, which Incognito saw as some kind of betrayal, but he insisted that wasn't the reason he quit.

The Bills cut his salary by $1.675 million, dropping him to $4.65 million in 2018. That's still generous for a guard who will be 35 next season. Teams make those kind of decisions all the time to balance payroll and be more competitive. He's the last guy who should be resentful about the cold business of the NFL.

You know who takes less money to help his team win? Tom Brady. The Bills took a chance on Incognito when the NFL banished him. They paid him well. This is how he thanks them, by hurling racial epithets in a playoff game and tweaking them about his plans to retire.

Perhaps the strangest thing of all is Incognito saying he believes he has done enough to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yes, he has made four Pro Bowls, once as a replacement. But he's never been all-Pro, which is how the voters typically separate the very good from the great. Last year's 9-7 Bills were the first winning team he ever played on.

Ask Ruben Brown, the former Bills left guard who made nine Pro Bowls but isn't considered a serious candidate for the Hall. And even if Incognito were a borderline Hall of Famer, some of his divisive behavior early in his career would give voters pause.

Maybe Richie shows up Monday for offseason workouts, as if the Bills hadn't put him on the retirement list and everything is back to his version of normal. If so, they should quote his original tweet and say, "Yes, Richie, you're done" and have security show him out.

When the issue of the racial slurs came up after the Jacksonville game, I said the Bills should cut Incognito if there was a shred of truth to it. He and Ngakoue hugged it out at the Pro Bowl, but the NFL is still investigating. The embarrassment lingers.

Incognito says he and Ngakoue 'talked like men' about alleged racial slur

His recent bizarre behavior suggests that, despite therapy and his engaging persona in the locker room, he still harbors serious demons, some no doubt the consequence of a life spent in the violent world of pro football.

As we've found out too many times in recent years, it often ends badly for NFL players. A lot of us have wondered how Incognito would deal with life after football. He seemed like a man who wouldn't handle the transition well.

Over the last week, he's come off like a damaged soul, a man in crisis.. Made you look? It makes you fearful. It makes you want to look away.

Richie Incognito reportedly agrees to sizable pay cut with Bills

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