Suspended guard Richie Incognito may never play again for the Dolphins. But he can’t be suspended from being a fan of the team.
“I love these guys,” Incognito told Jeff Darlington of NFL Network. “I talk to them every single day, so I feel like I’m out there with them in spirit. I talk to the coaches after the game, the players.”
But Incognito remains not a part of the team, willingly agreeing to transform a four-game suspension without pay into an eight-game suspension, with only two the games unpaid. The ongoing banishment results from his communications with tackle Jonathan Martin, who left the Dolphins in late October. Martin also continues to be paid for not playing with the team.
“I’ve done everything to cooperate,” Incognito said. “I’ve done my part, I’ve told my side, and that’s it. I told them everything I know — all of the information I’ve got — and I’m just waiting for the report. In the meantime, I’m just cheering my guys on.”
Incognito didn’t explain why he decided to accept pay checks from the Dolphins for the final two weeks of the season in lieu of forcing the Dolphins to bring him back or cut him. If he’d been cut, he quite possibly would have been signed by a playoff contender. And in nine NFL seasons, Incognito has never played in a playoff game.
The answer likely would have been that Incognito decided to go along in order to get along with the league office. Though the Dolphins can do nothing more to him, he remains subject to the NFL’s personal-conduct policy.
Plenty of discretion can be exercised by the folks at 345 Park Avenue. By helping keep the league out of the awkward position of having to welcome Incognito back before investigator Ted Wells finishes his report, Incognito could end up realizing a final outcome that allows him to return to the NFL in 2014 without any further suspension.
Until then, Incognito has every reason to support the Dolphins. In addition to receiving another $470,000 or the final two regular-season games, he’ll get checks for any playoff games for which the team qualifies — and in which he doesn’t play.