The Oakland Raiders signed offensive lineman Richie Incognito to a one-year deal Tuesday, despite a controversial past that includes a bullying scandal and multiple run-ins with law enforcement.
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock defended signing the four-time Pro Bowler who didn’t play one snap of football during the 2018 season.
“At the end of the day, you can’t have all Boy Scouts,” Mayock said. “You have to do your homework on each individual case. We’ve done our homework. We’ve talked to an awful lot of people. ... We’ve talked to Richie. We’ve told Richie what we expect both on and off the field and we expect him to adhere to that.”
While Incognito could be starting on the offensive line when the Raiders play the Denver Broncos in Week 1, the baggage he brings with him makes the signing much more curious.
Incognito was placed on an “involuntary psychiatric hold” in May 2018 after he allegedly threw weights and tennis balls at South Florida gym employees and another patron. He reportedly told responding officers that the government was spying on him.
A few months later, Incognito was arrested in Arizona for allegedly threatening to shoot funeral home employees. Police later executed a search warrant on Incognito’s pickup truck and recovered two Glocks, three rifles and a silencer for a handgun. He pleaded to disorderly conduct in that case in April.
While playing for the Miami Dolphins, Incognito was suspended for the final eight games of the 2013 season after teammate Jonathan Martin quit the team and accused him of bullying. An NFL investigation determined that Incognito and two other teammates had harassed Martin.
Incognito could still face a suspension from the NFL over the 2018 incidents, according to USA Today.
“The last few weeks he came in and worked out, as you guys all know. He did a great job at the workout. We’ve talked to the NFL, we’ve stayed in touch with them and there’s the chance there could be league discipline. We don’t know what it will be. But, again, it’s a one-year minimum, prove-it deal and we feel that he’s incented properly to stay straight, but we can’t control what the NFL will do,” Mayock said.
Incognito also received support from new teammate Antonio Brown.
“Incognito is a great guy, super funny, really good personality,” Brown said. “Aggressive guy who loves the game of football. I think he’s coming in hungry and excited to be back out here.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.