The NFL loves a second chance story. Getting back into the game and away from drama can be heartwarming and encouraging.
For the newest Oakland Raiders offensive lineman, Richie Incognito, this is more than a second chance. This may be his last opportunity to prove his value as an NFL player. The Raiders signed Incognito on Tuesday to a one-year deal after the former Pro Bowl guard sat out 2018.
Incognito is known largely for his off-field controversies, and Raiders general manager Mike Mayock stated that this is a ‘prove it’ deal via the Raiders official website:
“Three years in a row he’s a Pro Bowler in Buffalo, ’15, ’16 and ’17. Whenever he’s been focused on activities solely on the field, he’s been fine. We’ve done a one-year, prove-it deal with him, and ‘prove it’ means both on and off the field. There are some expectations that he has to meet in both areas. He turns 36 in July. We think he’s going to be a good football player and allow himself to compete for the left guard job, and just as importantly, he has to prove it off the field.”
The Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr have definitely needed help on the offensive line in recent years. Although Incognito is nearing 36, Mayock said in his initial workout he looked “five to 10” years younger. In a perfect world, Incognito will add some much-needed strength to the offensive line and start at left guard.
The Raiders should be getting some help on the line from offensive tackle Kolton Miller. Miller was officially made the starting left tackle, instead of newly acquired Trent Brown. Mayock hopes that Miller and Incognito will mesh on the left side, but is not confident that the duo will be definitely be starting.
Incognito was the main focus of the Miami Dolphins investigation into bullying in 2013. Although it remains unknown as to why, Incognito sat out the entire 2014 season.
He returned to action with the Buffalo Bills in 2015 and remained with the team until the 2017 season. He made the Pro-Bowl in each of his three years in Buffalo, as Mayock praised him for. Incognito decided to hang it up in 2018 reportedly due to health issues but now is back for one more shot.
Mayock has been pressed on the acquisition considering he has stated he hopes to build a foundation of decent and strong-willed players. However, this is just a one-year contract for Incognito so he likely will not be in the organization’s plans beyond this season.