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Richie Incognito Announces NFL Retirement After Stints with Raiders, Dolphins, More

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 15, 2022

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Offensive guard Richie Incognito has officially retired from the NFL after a 164-game career that began in 2006 with the St. Louis Rams.

The former Nebraska star logged NFL appearances for the Rams (2006-09), Buffalo Bills (2009, 2015-17), the Miami Dolphins (2010-13) and the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (2019-20).

Incognito released a statement Friday announcing that he would retire with the Silver and Black.

"Since I played my first snap at 12 years old, nothing in my life was more important than football. The game always came first," Incognito's statement began.

"Football has taught me a strong work ethic, a willing to get better every day and a desire to continue growing. It has taught me that while what you get is important, who you become is more important. All of these lessons I'll take with me into the next chapter.

"Because today, I'm officially retiring from the NFL."

Incognito, who was selected in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft, earned four Pro Bowl appearances (2012, 2015-17) during his career.

Incognito's career was not without significant controversy.

In 2009, fellow NFL players voted him as the dirtiest player in the league in a Sporting News poll.

Most notably, the Dolphins suspended him indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team in 2013. His suspension was lifted after the season, but he sat out all of 2014 as he sought psychiatric help.

Attorney Ted Wells released an independent report in 2014 that stated Incognito and fellow offensive linemen John Jerry and Mike Pouncey verbally harassed teammate Jonathan Martin and other members of the Dolphins team and staff.

The harassment reportedly included racist and anti-gay remarks as well as vulgar sexual taunts regarding Martin's mother and sister.

In a 2019 interview on HBO's Real Sports (h/t Vic Tafur of The Athletic), Incognito said he believed "the report was unfair to my side of things and that he thought Wells 'came in with a preconceived notion that I was guilty of doing that. I fit the bill, racist, homophobic, whatnot.'"

In May 2018, Incognito was placed on psychiatric hold after he reportedly tossed a tennis ball and then a dumbbell at a man amid "rambling about the government," per TMZ Sports.

In August 2018, Incognito was arrested and held on suspicion of misdemeanor charges of threats and disorderly conduct following an incident at a Scottsdale, Arizona funeral home where his father was being held after his death.

Stevie Johnson of the Democrat & Chronicle provided the details.

"According to a copy of the arrest report, Employees of Messingers Pinnacle Peak Mortuary told Scottsdale police that the former Pro Bowler said he wanted his father's head cut off for research purposes and that he walked through the funeral home punching caskets and throwing things.

"Witnesses told police that Incognito was supposed to sign cremation papers, but was unwilling to cooperate initially. He then proceeded to walk through the funeral home punching caskets and throwing things. After 'making himself comfortable' in the office of one of the victims, Incognito wanted to buy flowers for the funeral and everything they had before offering them his credit card."

Incognito spoke about the incident on Real Sports.

"It was an emotional day for myself," Incognito said (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area). "I showed up at the funeral home and I wasn't in my best health. I thought I was acting normal. You couple in the days not sleeping, then the heavy marijuana dose plus the drinking. All that is a recipe for disaster for a person like myself."

Incognito stepped away from football in 2018 before one final act with 12 games for the Raiders in 2019 and two more in 2020. Unfortunately, injuries kept him off the field, with a calf strain putting him on injured reserve for all of 2021.

Incognito credited those in his circle with helping him get on track and return to the field in 2019 with the Raiders.

"My mom, my brother, my stepdad, and all the people that rallied around me and supported me," Incognito said, per Tafur. "There were a ton of people with me...helping, calling, checking in and I couldn’t have done it without their help."

He announced his retirement on Friday after a decade-and-a-half in the NFL, and his now former teammates came out to support him upon his exit from the game.

Richie Incognito @68INCOGNITO

My brothers for life!! <a href="https://t.co/s2XgMi4Hhb">https://t.co/s2XgMi4Hhb</a>

Incognito shouted them out in his closing letter:

"What I'll miss most, though, is the brotherhood and camaraderie with my teammates, especially in the Silver and Black. It was empowering to have them trust me to bring stability, leadership, and work ethic to a young group of guys: Andre James, Kolton Miller, Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow, just to name a few."

Incognito leaves a Raiders team that's made great strides in his tenure there, as the 10-win Raiders made the playoffs for the first time in five seasons last year.

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