Lost in the fact that suspended Dolphins guard Richie Incognito’s official challenge to his ongoing suspension starts Thursday is that, in 10 days, the team will have to reinstate him. Or cut him.
Under the labor deal, a team can suspended a player up to four games for conduct detrimental to the team. For Incognito, the fourth game comes on December 1, when the Dolphins travel to New York (OK, New Jersey) to face the Jets.
With the grievance hearing reportedly expected to last several days, it’s highly unlikely that Incognito would be reinstated in time for Sunday’s game against the Panthers. Based on multiple reports, it’s also unlikely that the Dolphins would bring him back, either now or later.
That’s the real issue for the final month of the regular season. Unless the Dolphins can conjure an excuse for suspending Incognito again, they’ll have to let him play for them — or cut him and let him play for another team.
At some point in the next 10 days, the Dolphins will have to confront that dilemma, which could result in Incognito helping an AFC team other than the Dolphins capture the wild-card berth the Dolphins currently are chasing.