Former Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito has been named a national ambassador for an anti-bullying organization in Los Angeles.
In a news release from the non-profit Boo2Bullying, Incognito says he was bullied in high school.
"When I was young, I was a pretty big guy and I always felt out of place growing up," he said. "Most people don't know, but I was actually bullied in high school. A group of guys actually threw rocks at me. My dad told me not to worry and to focus on football. So I grinded, and at this point I was really starting to excel. After a few weeks of not letting it bother me, I actually became friends with the guys that bullied me.
"They are still my friends today, and anytime I go home now, I make sure we find some time to catch up. It just goes to show what can happen when you actually take the time to get to know someone, instead of treating them a certain way because they are different than you," he said.
"Bullying is a national crisis and it is only getting worse with technology and social media. Today, there seems to be no escape from it with cyberbullying. Boo2Bullying is in alignment with my values and I can personally relate to it from both sides - being bullied and being accused of being a bully."
That is a reference to an NFL investigation in 2013 that found Incognito and two Miami Dolphins teammates were involved in a "pattern of harassment" of teammate Jonathan Martin. Incognito, who was suspended in 2014, disputed the findings. He returned to football in 2015 with the Bills.
Incognito, who agreed to a pay cut to remain with the Bills after three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances, suddenly retired in April after firing his agents via Twitter. He then asked the Bills to release him and remove him from the retired/reserve list so he could resume his career with another team. The Bills released him May 21, but he remains a free agent. His offseason also has included being taken into custody in Florida after a dispute at a gym and spending three days at a mental hospital.
This week, Incognito has staunchly defended former teammate LeSean McCoy amid allegations of abuse with a tweet that remains pinned to the top of his timeline.
Prayers up for my G @CutonDime25
— Richard Dominick Incognito Jr. (@68INCOGNITO) July 11, 2018
Incognito will appear on behalf of the organization at a July 26 event in Los Angeles.