Posted December 01, 2013

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin reportedly wanted to cut Richie Incognito in May 2012

AFC East, Miami Dolphins
Joe Philbin's Dolphins has stayed in the playoff chase this season, despite a depleted offensive line.

Joe Philbin’s Dolphins has stayed in the playoff chase this season, despite a depleted offensive line. (J Pat Carter/AP)

Apparently, if the Miami Dolphins had complied to the wishes of head coach Joe Philbin, the ugly Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation may have been nipped in the bud.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Philbin pushed for the team to release Incognito in 2012, after the Dolphins’ lineman was involved in an alleged harassment incident during a charity golf outing. The details of that incident surfaced early last month — a Miami ABC affiliate secured a police report that stated Incognito inappropriately touched a female volunteer with a golf club.

According to Schefter, the most recent revelation came to light during the NFL-mandated investigation into Martin’s claims that he had been bullied by Incognito. The Dolphins suspended Incognito several weeks ago, then recently extended that suspension (with pay) while the NFL continues to look into the matter. Under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, teams are only allowed to suspend players for a maximum of four games; the continued absence for Incognito was an agreement by both parties.

Meanwhile, Martin was placed on the non-football injury list this week. He has not returned to the team since taking an unexcused absence prior to Miami’s Halloween night game against Cincinnati.

Shortly after Martin made his claims, several Dolphins players came to Incognito’s defense, with Randy Starks saying that they wanted “to clear Richie’s name.”

Incognito started all 16 games for the Dolphins last season, Philbin’s first year as head coach. He was in the starting lineup again for the opening eight games of 2013 before the situation with Martin became public.

25 comments
synmax11
synmax11

Richie Incognito is an overgrown, loud, foul-mouthed idiot BUT - there is more to this story than meets the eye.  The coach may have wanted to get rid of Incognito after  the stupid behavior with the girl at the golf course, but the GM realized that they couldn't easily replace a Pro Bowl player like Incognito quickly.

After Martin left the team, he emailed incognito telling him that he didn't blame him or the team but that things had gotten out of his control.  Martin has been playing football long enough to know how locker-room behavior is. I think Martin's parents saw or heard the messages left by Incognito and were offended.  They didn't understand that it was banter among teammates, they viewed it as racial harrassment.  Martin's mom is an attorney specializing in workplace harrassment and has written several articles on it in national news publications.  So after Martin leaves the team, he does everything by the book to set up a lawsuit - he seeks psychological counselling, retains legal counsel and files formal complaints with the Dolphins and the NFLPA.  This is the exact correct procedure for someone looking to sue.

I don't think Martin necessarily wants to be involved in a lawsuit, he knows that if this goes to a formal lawsuit his NFL career will be over. No NFL team will be interested in a troublemaker and few players will trust him enough to want to play with him. If it doesn't go to a lawsuit and the Dolphins release Martin, then he probably will get picked up by another NFL team.  He's young and has starting experience already.  He also still affordable to a team looking to be under the salary cap.  The 49'ers might be a good situation for Martin. Jim Harbaugh was his college coach at Stanford and he'd be closer to home.

Incognito is in a more troubled position.  He's coming off his best season last year when he made the Pro Bowl and is an experienced veteran with lots of playing time. BUT - Incognito has a bad reputation as a dirty player and a troubled history with coaches since college (Nebraska, Oregon and the St. Louis Rams).  Incognito is now over 30 years old and is making over $4 million a year.  If the Dolphins decide to release him, Incognito may have a hard time catching on with another team.  Other NFL teams may decide that he's not worth the trouble, his salary is too high and he's too controversial a player.  Incognito could make another team's roster if their Offensive Line was decimated by injuries and they needed replacement players and if he's willing to take a pay cut.

OnePass
OnePass

From the chopping block because of character issues, to the Dolphins' leadership council.

Not only does Philbin not have any pull in the front office, he has no pull in his own locker room.  

joel.wright01
joel.wright01

How about adding one or two more sentences to this news piece and explain why Philbin's wishes were over-ruled?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

If Incognito ever plays another snap in the NFL it is an epic fail for the league. Alas, RantandRave is quite correct, this is the image the NFL likes. You see it in comments here where the neanderthals say 'It's how "men" act.'  It is not how men act.  It is how disgusting human beings behave.  And the league is weakened by their lack of definitive action on the matter. It is also typical of Roger Goodell's 'leadership', which is all but non-existent. The popularity of professional football in America has peaked. After a few years of leveling off it will start to drop. And situations like this are the reason why.  

RantNRave
RantNRave

It's pointless to support the NFL anyway. If this is the character the NFL wishes to promote, then intelligent fans will spend their time and dollars with a better class of people.. This is inescapable.

kj4027
kj4027

So far nothing Incognito has done warrants his complete dismissal from the NFL. He may be the biggest eff around but he shouldn't lose his livelihood because of it. How many NFL players are arrested for Pot, DUI or various other offenses and they are still playing. PED users get suspended for some games and come back. Yes, the guy is a huge d-bag but how can the league stop him from playing and let "arrested" players still suit-up?

Lizard_King
Lizard_King

Calling it "locker room behavior" doesn't make it right.  Neither does calling the victim a "troublemaker" because he vanished.  Incognito, even if your intentionally obtuse assessment of him as some sort of rascally NFL Huck Finn has merit, also has a history of behavior that clearly demonstrates he is disturbed beyond what would be considered normal behavior for a functional human being.  The only way some people can feel at all is if they can inflict pain on others.  

Is it his fault?  Only to the point that his character is so disordered he refuses to believe he needs professional help.  People with character disorders cannot see that they are flawed.  Nothing is their fault so there is no reason to change, which is of course nonsense and part the sickness.

We have probably all had someone like that in our lives at one time or another.  They look like people but really aren't and the best thing to do is slowly back away. That's what Martin did while calmly assuring Section 8 Incognito that that everything was fine and certainly not Incognitos fault.  Dealing with emotionally disturbed people is best left to trained professionals with nets and tranquilizer guns.

Indeed, Martin knows about typical locker room behavior, and that's why he knew Incognito's actions did not fit.

RobRomero
RobRomero

@ReddickHarris Overruled by the GM.   Now we know why Ross is vehemently backing Philbin and on the brink of canning Irelands.

Xception2Drule
Xception2Drule

@RantNRave This behavior has been around since day 1- in fact a lot worse has occurred consitently since it's inception. Don't start crying foul now when nothing has changed since the beginning. You are sadly mistaken if you think will make any monumental changes in the fan base moving forward.

biasedsportsfan
biasedsportsfan

@RantNRave "Intelligent fanatics"? I don't think you understand sports. 'So what Jameis Winston quite possibly raped a girl, and at the very least avoided any real investigation at the time because of his fame? TOUCHDOWN!!!' The fans will spend their time and dollars on irrational, emotional obsession with a vicarious feeling of victory. Intelligent or no, logic and reason have very little to do with enjoying sports.

RantNRave
RantNRave

Philbin NOW wanted to makes changes last year? That's very interesting because he starts the guy for an entire 7-9 season.

eddie767
eddie767

@kj4027 You are forgetting,he is an employee the owners can get rid of him and no one has to sign him again. To play is a privilege not a right. The teams can sign whoever they want. So lawbreakers,druggies,or even alleged racists have an equal chance of employment. Incognito just happened to "bother" the wrong person/ppl at the wrong time,since he just settled a sexual something,that happened at a team function. He cn't help himsrlf b/c all he does is stupid stuff.

BudkisMandel
BudkisMandel

@kj4027 

WRONG, it is the tip of the iceberg dilemma. Had the woman pressed charges and not settled with Incognito, he would most likely be in jail right now for sexual assault and have to register as a sex offender for life. This guy has had more than one chance to clean up his act, and he cannot/will not do it. 

Who knew Michael Vick was electrocuting and burning dogs alive inside his home? This guy is a ticking time bomb, and I am sure there are tons of more vile incidents that we do not know about. That is why the league is investigating, expect this guy to get the door slammed in his face

eddie767
eddie767

@biasedsportsfan Winston was red-shirting so he wasn't famous yet. To include him in this topic just shows you think a player can control an investigation,of which he knows no more than alleged victim. He does what he is told to do,right or wrong,b/c after all she stopped cooperating not him.

BY
BY

@RantNRave How about putting him on the "leadership council"?

Mel
Mel

@BudkisMandel And for me, the fact that Vick is still on an NFL roster, now that we know at least some of the things he was doing (still doing?) kills alot of my interest in the NFL. Goodell, if he had some balls, would've told Vick and anyone else with a felony conviction to take a hike. Playing in the NFL isn't some birth right. Sure these guys are entitled to earn an income. NOWHERE does the law say they have to make that income in the NFL. That's the part people don't seem to get.