Buccaneers to meet with ex-Dolphin Incognito

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to determine if Richie Incognito is a good fit for their struggling offensive line.

Coach Lovie Smith confirmed Monday he was going to meet with one of the central figures of the bullying scandal that engulfed the Miami Dolphins last season, but also cautioned the “visit” might not necessarily end with the free agent guard resuming his career with the Bucs.

An NFL investigation determined Incognito and two other Dolphins offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment of teammate Jonathan Martin, who left the team in the middle of last season. Incognito was suspended and missed the final eight games before becoming a free agent when his contract with Miami expired.

Smith said it would “jumping the gun” to assume the Bucs will sign Incognito but that he would enter the meeting late Monday with an open mind.

“If you know my history, I do believe in second chances. To me, nobody should have a death sentence. If you should, you’re probably in jail,” Smith said.

“From there, what does it hurt to talk to someone? For me, as we go forward, I’m not holier than thou. I’m going to give everybody the benefit of the doubt until I have information that tells me otherwise,” the coach added. “That’s where we are right now. Part of that process is Richie coming in.”

The Buccaneers overhauled their offensive line after last season, beginning with the release of two-time Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph in a cost-cutting move.

Plans for the restructured unit suffered a setback on the opening day of training camp when general manager Jason Licht announced the team was parting ways with another incumbent starter, guard Carl Nicks, who missed most of last season with a MRSA infection.

Smith bristled when he was repeatedly asked if bringing in Incognito for a visit, and possibly signing him, might upset the locker room.

“We look at all available guys, period. What does it hurt to look at someone who’s available,” the coach reiterated.

“Would I have a football player on our team that I thought would mess up our team chemistry? The answer is no. Simple as that,” Smith added. “But I can’t assume that’s the case. To me, you go through the process. You look and you talk face to face with everybody that’s available. That’s what we’re doing.”

Incognito has long been labeled one of the NFL’s dirtiest players with a reputation for out-of-bounds behavior off the field.

“I’ve heard what happened down (in Miami). But for me, I think it doesn’t hurt anything to talk face to face with anybody that’s available,” Smith said, later adding: “I can’t go on hearsay. I need to see for myself.”

Several players, including quarterback Josh McCown and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said Incognito would be welcomed to the team if Smith and general manager Jason Licht winds up signing Incognito, who has also played for the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills during a nine-year career.

“I don’t know him personally. In these situations, you trust Jason and Lovie and the guys as they try to help our football team,” McCown said. “No matter who it is, if someone is an addition to our team, Lovie always talks about embracing them and making them feel like one of us. So if that’s the case, we’ll do that with him.”

McCoy agreed.

“As long as he can help us win, then that’s all I’m concerned about,” McCoy said. “If there’s a problem, we’ll deal with it accordingly. As long as he’s doing what he’s supposed to do on the field, I’m not concerned about anything else.”

More in Sports

RPI has changed way hoops coaches approach non-league games

The implementation of RPI for state-tourney seeding has local basketball coaches thinking differently.

Everett’s Akash Bains leaps over Prince George’s Josh Maser during a game Dec. 16, 2017, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Sivertips bounce back, rout Cougars 4-0

Dustin Wolf notches his first career shutout as Everett rebounds from a loss to beat Prince George.

How might NHL team in Seattle impact Silvertips?

A look at local reaction to the possibility of the NHL coming to Seattle.

Seahawks ditch ‘every game is the same’ mantra for Rams showdown

Seattle hosts first-place Los Angeles in what is essentially the NFC West championship game on Sunday.

Freshmen contributing for UW men’s basketball team

Mike Hopkins likes what he’s seen from his freshmen through… Continue reading

Saturday’s prep scores, recaps

BOYS BASKETBALL Neah Bay 61, Darrington 55 Bellingham 77, Sultan 55 Interlake… Continue reading

Saturday’s stars of the night

Peter Kim, Anthony Armad, Kamiak wrestling Kim and Armad, both seniors, helped… Continue reading

Friday’s prep basketball scores, recaps

Girls teams get defensive in decisive victories.

Glacier Peak’s Makayla Guerra attempts a shot past Jackson’s Sydney Carter Friday night at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish on December 15, 2017. Glacier Peak won 63-46. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
New-look Glacier Peak girls basketball beats Jackson 63-46

The Grizzlies are starting to find their footing after losing three stars to graduation from last season.

Most Read