Disgraced NFL guard Richie Incognito appeared on television Wednesday for the first time since receiving treatment at a mental health facility, and all he wants is an opportunity to play in the league in 2014.
According to WSVN-7 News in Miami, Incognito is hopeful that he will catch on with an NFL team in the near future. In fact, he would ideally like to return to the Miami Dolphins despite the messy ending to his relationship with the team.
With which team will Richie Incognito play in 2014?
"Returning to the Dolphins was my number one goal from the time I got suspended," Incognito said. "I want to return to the community in Miami and resume my playing career as soon as possible."
Incognito is currently a free agent, but he hasn't generated any interest on the open market thus far. Although Incognito has a Pro Bowl appearance on his resume, it's difficult to imagine a team taking on his baggage.
Incognito made headlines and rocked the foundation of the NFL in 2013 when he became the subject of a bullying scandal. Incognito and other teammates reportedly bullied offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, which led to Martin leaving the team. Incognito was subsequently suspended but has since been reinstated.
The entire situation has apparently taken its toll on Incognito mentally as he recently sought help for mental stress, according to TMZ. Incognito has since been released from the treatment facility, and he expressed a desire to resume his career on Twitter:
Looking forward to getting back to work ASAP ;)— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) March 19, 2014
Incognito's future is very much up in the air, but Martin has already been handed a clean slate. The Dolphins traded Martin to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional seventh-round draft pick on March 12.
While Incognito's opinion on Martin has seemingly changed on multiple occasions since the scandal first made waves, he claims that he is happy for his former teammate, per WSVN-7 News.
I was excited. He always felt welcomed up there at Stanford and with Coach (Jim) Harbaugh. So I said, you know what? He's got an opportunity that he can run with. He can go play. I think it's awesome. The bottom line is, I'm for the people, by the people, and I just want to go back to work.
Even though Incognito is seemingly trying to turn over a new leaf, it is difficult to imagine a team taking a chance on him at his point in time. The negative media backlash likely isn't something that teams want to deal with.
At the same time, injuries happen all the time in the NFL, and Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel believes that could potentially open the door for Incognito at some point during the season:
Maybe a team loses a starter in week 2 & Richie Incognito's phone will ring. He acted irresponsibly, has emotional issues.Didn't kill anyone— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) March 14, 2014
It isn't totally outside the realm of possibility that Incognito will catch on with a team in desperation mode down the line, but the door to a return to the Dolphins is almost certainly closed.
Perhaps Incognito will garner some level of interest as he becomes further removed from the bullying scandal; however, it is still very fresh in the minds of most. Because of that, Incognito playing in 2014 is a long shot at best.
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