Richie Incognito

USA Today

Raiders Sign Big Rich

Not a boy scout.

May 29, 2019 - 12:29 pm

Lost in the shuffle of all the post-Memorial Day news was this tweet from the Oakland Raiders: We have signed free agent G Richie Incognito.

Wait, what? That Richie Incognito. Probably a different guy named Richie Incognito. But then you click on the link and you get an article on the team’s website that reads in part:

The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent G Richie Incognito, the club announced Tuesday. Incognito joins the Raiders after previous stints with the St. Louis Rams (2005-09), Miami Dolphins (2010-13) and most recently with the Buffalo Bills (2009, 2015-17). A four-time Pro Bowler (2012, 2015-17), Incognito has appeared and started in 150 contests over his career.

It goes on to list a number of Incognito’s accomplishments, but there’s a lot that wasn’t included.

Like the time he was feuding with the Minnesota Vikings.

Or the time he underwent an involuntary psychiatric evaluation in Florida after an incident at a gym that included him allegedly throwing a dumbbell at someone. According to TMZ Sports, the alleged victim said that Incognito was rambling about the government and screaming “get off my bleeping playground.”

Oh, and he told police that he was “running … NSA class level 3 documents.”

And the team’s news story didn’t include the time, following the death of his father, that he showed up at the mortuary and "walked around the funeral home, punching caskets and throwing things." And then allegedly demanded this his father’s head be cut off for research purposes.

And made a gun gesture at one employee and talked about having a “truck full of guns” in the parking lot. And sure enough, police found that he did allegedly have a pair of pistols, three rifles, and a silencer in his truck in the parking lot.

And those are only the highlights from last summer. You’d think that was a career summary, A career many wouldn’t’ want to touch, but it wasn’t a career, it’s just the summer  of 2018. My guy did all of that in one summer!

Before that, we have the bullying scandal, the allegations of racism directed at a teammate and a team employee, the allegations of sexual harassment at a golf course, and the list goes on.

But like I always say, if you have the chance to get a soon-to-be 36 year old offensive lineman who did not play last year and retired because of alleged kidney and liver issues and then spent the summer getting into fights at gyms and funeral homes, you do that 100 times out of 100.

You can’t afford not to sign a guy like that. Culture is the biggest buzzword in sports right now and who better to define a winning culture than a guy who throws allegedly throws dumbbells at people in gyms, allegedly believes he’s being spied on, allegedly punches caskets, allegedly demands that his father’s head be cut off for research purposes, and allegedly makes threats to funeral home workers.

That’s not just a guy you want to bring into camp, you want to build around him. And around Vontaze Burfict. Fantastic work everyone. 

Raiders GM Mike Mayock explained the move by saying: “You can’t have all boy scouts.” I’m sorry, what?

You bring him in and the explanation is that “you can’t have all boy scouts”? I get that you maybe want some edge and some toughness, but is it possible to find that edge and toughness without bringing in a guy who isn’t throwing dumbbells, claiming he’s being spied on, and punching caskets? Surely there’s a middle ground between that guy and a boy scout.

And not to state the obvious, but let’s state it – this is a league that will give Richie Incognito countless chances after everything he’s done, but Colin Kaepernick never got another look.

But Mayock went on: “I think whenever he has been focused on activities solely on the field, he has been fine. We’ve done a one-year, prove-it deal with him. Prove it means both on and off the field.”

Whenever Richie isn’t throwing dumbbells and threatening funeral home workers, he’s been fine. What an incredible statement.

I like Mayock. I think he’s a really sharp guy and a really smart guy, but even he can’t believe what he’s saying. And it doesn’t matter to me whether they are bringing in Incognito just as a camp body to toughen up everyone and maybe they cut him before the season. You are the company that you keep. And when you bring Incognito into your company that says a ton. And there’s no way to explain that away.