The pariah of the NFL may actually find work this season. Yes, Meathead Hall of Fame member Richie Incognito is reportedly visiting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday and could wind up being offered a contract if he’s in shape.
This is the first time Incognito has been in an NFL facility since the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal that rocked the NFL last season. Despite Incognito’s lengthy past history of misbehavior, most believe he’ll eventually be offered an NFL job, and Tampa Bay could be the team to welcome him aboard if all goes well today.
The Buccaneers are in serious need of talent along the interior of their offensive line after Carl Nicks’ departure. Incognito has 102 NFL starts to his name, and Pro Football Focus has graded him favorably over the past six seasons. The 31-year-old was also a Pro Bowl pick in 2012.
Incognito would have to be reinstated by the NFL but that doesn’t seem like it would be much of a problem after he was suspended for the final eight games of the 2013 season and released by the Miami Dolphins.
Quarterback Josh McCown and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy have both spoken up and said there would be no problem if Incognito was added to the locker room.
McCoy had the following to say:
“I don’t care. As long as he can help us win, that’s all I’m concerned about. If there’s a problem, then we’ll deal with it accordingly. But as long as he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing in the building, then I’m not concerned about anything else.”
McCown claimed that he trusted the judgement of general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith:
“No matter who it is, if anybody becomes an addition to our team, the thing that Lovie always talks about is embracing them and making them feel like one of us.
“We feel good about our locker room and feel good about the ability to add anybody and be able to embrace him and help him be a part of the Buccaneers.”
Incognito has paid his penance and, while his actions were reprehensible, I’m all for him getting another chance in the league. The Buccaneers appear to be willing to take a chance on him.