"I'm not going to let our fans down. I'm not going to do that. I know it's been 15 years [since Buffalo reached the playoffs]. Well, get ready. We're going. We are going to build a bully, and we're gonna see if you want to play it for 60 minutes." -- Bills head coach Rex Ryan, at his introductory press conference
Well, you have to give Rex Ryan credit for not only being full of bluster in his introduction to the Buffalo media last month, but also credit for being full of factually, literally correct bluster.
There's no better way to go about "building a bully," a gigantic figurative, 53 man organism that punches innocent people in the mouth, than to go find actual bullies as the subatomic components.
Hence, Richie Incognito, card carrying and once-suspended-for-actually-bullying bully, is back in our lives, this time as a Buffalo Bill.
The Buffalo Bills have agreed in principle to a deal to bring the former Dolphins guard into camp this summer. The contract is reported to be a one year deal for $2.25 million, according to sources, after Incognito was in Buffalo over the weekend to take a physical.
For those who haven't been keeping up closely with the Bills' interior offensive line situation (and if you have been keeping up with Bills interior offensive line situation closely, may I suggest you find a hobby), the guards were a weakness on this team in 2014. Starters Erik Pears and Kraig Urbik both struggled. Pears will become a free agent in March, while Urbik is under contract through 2016. Meanwhile, guard Chris Williams, who signed a four year, $13 million deal last offseason but missed 13 games due to injury, has said he expects to be back in 2015. A Williams-Incognito tandem immediately strengthens what was a weakness.
Incognito, after all, was a Pro Bowler for the Dolphins in 2012, but is best known for the nightmare he brought upon the team in 2013 with the infamous bullying scandal, most notably with Incognito bullying then rookie offensive lineman Jonathan Martin with other players (veterans John Jerry and Mike Pouncey) involved as ancillary players in the drama. Martin would wind up getting traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
Incognito was suspended for the final eight games of the 2013 season, and was cleared for a return to the NFL prior to the 2014 season. However, he would have no takers for his services, with visits to Tampa Bay (August) and to Denver (November) being the only nibbles from the league.
I'll admit I was surprised that Incognito -- who as we saw in interviews in the wake of the Martin situation, can turn on the charm -- didn't wind up on anybody's roster last season. It seemed like the P.R. headache that Incognito might represent wasn't worth it for playoff contenders to distract from the task at hand and wasn't worth it for bad teams who would still be bad, even with Incognito.
However, time heals most wounds, and in the wake of a 2014 season that saw high profile off the field incidents involving violence against women (Ray Rice, Ray McDonald, Greg Hardy) and children (Adrian Peterson), Incognito's worst transgression being the tormenting of another player pales in comparison.
So Richie Incognito is now your deal, Buffalo. Needless to say, your interior offensive line situation just became a lot more interesting, and your company Christmas party, a lot more exciting....
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