In order for Richie Incognito to play in the NFL again, there would have to be a plague that hit only offensive linemen. Hundreds of them would have to catch the flu. Or break something. In other words, total desperation.
What's happening with Incognito is pretty clear. Teams that are desperate for linemen are giving him a look-see. Several teams' executives confirmed to me what Jay Glazer from Fox Sports first reported—that the Broncos, Chiefs and Buccaneers had Incognito in for a visit.
I'm told by these executives that Incognito actually performed well in his workouts. An executive on one of the teams said Incognito was "excellent" in his tryout. He was in shape, personable and, in some cases, better than some of the linemen on the teams trying him out.
Then, something strange happened. As Glazer wrote, "Incognito visited the Chiefs and the Bucs this season and in both cases, each team got skittish after numerous calls from people inside the NFL were made and no deals were ever consummated."
Hmmm … "numerous calls from people inside the NFL." So is Incognito being blackballed? Sorry, since Incognito has said some horribly racist things, he might not like the word "blackball." So put another way: Is there collusion against Incognito to keep him out of football?
It will never be proved, but I don't think there's any question teams are being encouraged not to sign him. Certainly no one in the league office wants Incognito back in football. Individual teams are different. They only care about themselves.
The greater NFL has other interests, namely that it knows the truth: Incognito gonna' Incognito.
They know that if he does return, there's a good chance that Incognito will do something bigoted or harassing. Because, well, this is what he does. This is what he has always done.
One thing we've learned about Incognito is that he doesn't change.
I'm not saying he will never be signed. I'm saying there's a difference between a workout and a signing.
No, he doesn't change. In 2004, he was "Suspect-01" in a house party fight. At Nebraska, he was accused of spitting on a player. He got kicked out of that program. He got kicked out of Oregon after being with that team for only a week.
The patterns continued. When he was with the Rams, he drew seven unnecessary roughness calls in 44 games. In Miami, at a charity golf outing, he sexually assaulted a woman with a golf club and then threw water in her face.
The independent investigation into the Dolphins resulted in a report in which Incognito is portrayed as an animal. One part detailed the harassment of an Asian-American trainer:
Incognito, [John] Jerry and [Mike] Pouncey admitted that they directed racially derogatory words toward him, including "Jap" and "Chinaman." At times, according to Martin, they referred to the Assistant Trainer as a "dirty communist" or a "North Korean," made demands such as "give me some water you f-----g chink," spoke to him in a phony, mocking Asian accent, including asking for "rubby rubby sucky sucky," and called his mother a "rub and tug masseuse." Martin and others informed us that Incognito and Jerry taunted the Assistant Trainer with jokes about having sex with his girlfriend. Incognito admitted that these types of comments were made to the Assistant Trainer.
On December 7, 2012, the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey donned traditional Japanese headbands that featured a rising sun emblem (which the Assistant Trainer had given them) and jokingly threatened to harm the Assistant Trainer physically in retaliation for the Pearl Harbor attack. According to Martin, the Assistant Trainer confided in him that he was upset about the Pearl Harbor comments, finding them derogatory toward his heritage.
Such a swell guy, and there is so much more in that report. It's like reading something from a horror story. Or The Onion.
I know what will be said: He deserves a second chance. I agree with this—not withstanding the fact he's had multiple chances, more than he deserves for being such a terrible person.
Another chance? Sure. He can have it. He served his penance.
But there's a reason the Broncos passed on Incognito (for now), despite utilizing seven separate offensive line combinations for at least one snap this year. The Broncos may have come to their senses (or they were reminded to do so).
Incognito is the kind of guy to walk into the Broncos' locker room and make a joke about Peyton Manning's momma.
There is one thing we know about Incognito, and it's that he won't change. Ever.
Sign him at your own peril.
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.