Richie Incognito announced Friday he will retire from the NFL. Most recently a member of the Raiders, the veteran guard retired as a member of the team.
Known for both high-level performance and off-field incidents that led to multiple season-long absences, Incognito played from 2005-2020. Incognito caught on with the Raiders in 2019, after missing the 2018 season, and started 12 games. The Raiders reached an extension with the veteran blocker late in 2019 and, after scrapping that deal during the 2021 offseason, came to another agreement with him last year. Incognito did not play last season, with health issues again impeding him, and will call it quits at age 39.
The former Rams third-round pick played 164 career games (all starts) and made four Pro Bowls. Three of those honors came with the Bills, when Incognito helped LeSean McCoy reach two 1,000-yard seasons, but the other came with the Dolphins. Incognito’s Dolphins tenure will probably be what is most remembered about his career, but he capitalized on the additional chances given to him by the Bills and Raiders.
At the center of the bullying scandal involving then-Miami O-lineman Jonathan Martin, Incognito was suspended by the team and did not play in 2014. The NFL’s investigation found Incognito harassed Martin with racial and homophobic remarks. Despite being sidelined in his age-31 season, Incognito came back and signed two Bills contracts — the second of which a three-year, $15.75MM deal during the 2016 offseason. The Nebraska alum played two years on that second Buffalo deal, helping the McCoy- and Tyrod Taylor-driven attack lead the league in rushing in 2016.
The Bills released Incognito during the 2018 offseason, and he claimed he was retiring at that point. A subsequent an altercation at a Florida gym led to Incognito being placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold by police, and an arrest for a separate incident later that offseason led to a second full-season Incognito absence.
The Rams had previously cut Incognito during the 2009 season, after a game during which he received multiple personal foul penalties for headbutting, and he ended up with the Bills initially via waiver claim. The Dolphins gave Incognito a one-year deal in 2010 and extended him in 2011. Prior to the bullying scandal that broke midway through the 2013 season, Incognito started 55 games with the Dolphins.
After the Raiders gave the polarizing lineman another chance in 2019, he helped Josh Jacobs to a 1,150-yard rushing debut — a season in which Oakland ranked in the top 10 in rushing DVOA. The Raiders gave Incognito a two-year, $14MM extension in December 2019, but the early-season foot injury he suffered in 2020’s second game ended up sidelining him for most of that year. A calf injury shut down Incognito for all of the 2021 season.
This was certainly one of the more unique careers in modern O-line history. Despite injuries and controversies, Incognito became the rare lineman to play into his late 30s.