Raiders

Born to play with the Raiders: Richie Incognito

Las Vegas Raiders guard Richie Incognito has had a lot of issues on and off the field for as far back as anyone can remember. Judging on 2019 alone, it seems like he got his demons under control and earned his two-year extension.

Looking at Incognito’s past, it’s obvious he was just born into the wrong era of NFL. This man belonged on the 70’s, or even 80’s Silver and Black squads given his on field anger issues.

Attitude is everything

Incognito’s college days saw him emerge as a ruthless offensive lineman who hit people from behind, spit on opposing players, received numerous penalties, and even got suspended indefinitely for fighting his own teammates.

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Still, he was drafted by Rams and spent a large part of his time there on the sidelines due to injury or alcoholism. That mean streak sometimes came out in the form of head-butting players, berating officials, drawing numerous flags and even shouting matches with the coaches.

St. Louis had enough and dropped him.

He did not last on the waiver wire as both the Bills and the Dolphins swooped in for him. Buffalo got the claim, but it lasted a mere three games and they opted not to sign him to an extension.

Bullying scandal, career over?

Miami signed Incognito to a one-year deal that offseason, he excelled as a guard and center with minimal conflicts so they extended him for three more seasons. He was great in the first two and was even selected to the Pro Bowl.

The third year spiraled out of control to a point where he was even called on penalties in games he wasn’t playing in.

That same year he was suspended indefinitely for “bullying” his teammate; Jonathan Martin. He did not play the 2014 season, teams wanted no part of that drama.

Redemption

In 2015, the Bills gave him another chance and it paid off as he turned into one of the most dominating guards in the league, earning another three-year extension.

Incognito dominated for a while, but in 2017, there was more controversy between him and Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who accused the guard of using a racial slur at him.

Health concerns, retirement?

Towards the end of the 2017 season, the Bills planned on restructuring his contract, Incognito was not happy about it and later announced his retirement due to health concerns.

They moved him to the retired list. A couple months later, he announced a change in heart and asked Bills to release him after talking with the team and the league. Buffalo fulfilled his request in May of 2018. No team pursued him and he had quite a few incidents which made the NFL world think he was gone for good.

Misfits always welcomed in Raider Nation

In May of 2019, the Raiders signed Incognito to a 1-year deal. At that time, the league imposed a two-game suspension due to his offfield antics at his father’s funeral in Arizona.

With the Raiders, he played in 12 games, over 700 snaps and allowed just one sack. Now, he was still Incognito, so with solid production, came eight penalties that killed some drives.

Regardless, he earned his new two-year extension and is moving on with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Born to be

Incognito is everything the Raiders always brought in from what I saw growing up. He is a misfit and tough. He wants to hurt the other team, and he does not give a damn what the referees or league have to say about it. Incognito fits, and I hope we all get to see him ride out his career with the Silver and Black. Minimize those penalties, keep the toughness, and control the demons inside, especially in Sin City. I want more of this, completely unnecessary but absolutely fun to watch.

Incognito was born to play for the Raiders, and I am glad he got his extension. If he slips, his contract was for $12 million, $5 million guaranteed so they could cut him with a small loss. As far as his racial tendencies, if accurate, well he shares a line with some big boys that won’t put up with his crap. As long as his teammates are good with him, Raider Nation should be too.

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