Richie Incognito, who stated he found acceptance with the Las Vegas Raiders after a star-crossed and controversy-filled career as one of the more physical offensive linemen of his era, announced his retirement on Friday.
Incognito, 39, signed with the Raiders in 2019 and played in just 14 games with them because of injuries. He last appeared in Week 2 of the 2020 season.
“It felt like home the minute I got here,” Incognito said in letter posted on the Raiders’ website, “and I’d gotten this ‘bad boy’ reputation, but it just fit with the Raiders. They trusted who I was, and they let me play. And I played my ass off just to repay them for the opportunity.
“I love the Raiders organization, and Mr. [Mark] Davis means the world to me. It’s why after four teams and 15 years, I’m retiring a Raider.”
Incognito was a third-round draft pick of the then-St. Louis Rams in 2005 and also spent time with the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. He earned the first of his four Pro Bowl selections with the Dolphins in 2012, but his involvement in a bullying scandal with fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin led to Incognito being suspended for half of the 2013 season and he did not play in 2014. He signed with the Bills in 2015 and went to three consecutive Pro Bowls before first retiring after the 2017 season, saying his liver and kidneys were “shutting down.”
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In 2018, Incognito was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold after he allegedly threw a dumbbell at a person in a gym and was also arrested for threatening to shoot employees at a funeral home where his late father was being held.
He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors after an incident involving his 90-year-old grandmother.
The Raiders signed him in the spring of 2019 with then-general manager Mike Mayock saying at the time, “You can’t have all boy scouts.”
Incognito stayed out of trouble with the Raiders, even if he had a hard time staying on the field.
He played 12 games that first year — he had to serve an NFL-mandated two-game suspension for the funeral home incident — and earned a two-year, $14 million extension.
But Incognito suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign, and after suffering a calf injury in a joint practice last August, he never played again. Still, he was seen as a positive influence in the Raiders’ offensive line room as several offensive linemen attended Incognito’s retirement media conference.
“He created such a fierce leadership mentality amongst these young guys, that he’s teaching them how to become football players and how to become Raiders,” owner Mark Davis stated Friday. “That’s the thing about being a Raider, they’re badasses on the field, but they’re kittens off the field.”
Incognito also became a vocal advocate for mental health.
“I’ve dealt with injuries the last two years I never had before in my career,” Incognito said. “My body told me it was time, and I knew I was ready to hang them up. And though some in my inner circle might not believe me — I’m ready. There’s no turning back. “I came back. I set my mission. I accomplished my goal.”
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