Bills to sign Incognito, key figure in bullying scandal

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Report: Buffalo Bills Sign Richie Incognito


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Bills are prepared to give Richie Incognito a second chance after the offensive guard's career was derailed by the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal in 2013.

In a two-sentence release Saturday night, the Bills said they reached an agreement in principle to sign Incognito. He was a free agent and had been out of football since being suspended and missing the final eight games of the 2013 season.

The discipline came after an NFL investigation determined Incognito and two other Dolphins offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment of teammate Jonathan Martin, who left the team. Martin spent last season with San Francisco.

Incognito has nine seasons of NFL experience, and briefly played for the Bills in 2009.

The Bills have a need at guard, after they went through numerous starters last season.

And he joins a team in transition under new coach Rex Ryan, who was hired last month after Doug Marrone opted out of his contract.

Ryan, coincidentally, used the word "bully" in vowing he wanted to build a tough team, during his introductory news conference in Buffalo.

"We're going to build a bully and we're going to see if you're going to play us for 60 minutes," Ryan had said.

Incognito had established a reputation for having a mean streak even before the bullying scandal. Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus once called Incognito "the dirtiest player in the NFL," following a game against Buffalo's AFC East rival Dolphins.

Several teams had entertained the prospect of signing Incognito last season before turning elsewhere.

That included the Buccaneers in August, when coach Lovie Smith confirmed he planned to meet with Incognito to determine if the player was a good fit for Tampa Bay.

"If you know my history, I do believe in second chances," Smith had said. "To me, nobody should have a death sentence."

The Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts also were mentioned as having interest in Incognito.

A year ago, Incognito received unspecified treatment in the aftermath of the scandal.

In March, after his contract expired, Incognito posted messages on his Twitter account saying he was looking forward to "getting back to work ASAP."

Incognito was selected by St. Louis in the third round of the 2005 draft. He failed to sign a contract with the Rams until Week 3 of his rookie season, and then missed the rest of the year after being placed on the team's non-football injury list.

He spent the next three-plus seasons in St. Louis before wearing out his welcome. The Rams placed him on waivers and he was claimed by Buffalo. He played three games with the Bills, but was not re-signed. Overall, he has appeared in 102 games.

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Bills to sign Incognito, key figure in bullying scandal
In this July 24, 2013 file photo, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) and tackle Jonathan Martin (71) stand on the field during an NFL football practice in Davie, Fla.
In this Sept. 30, 2013 file photo, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68), center left, and and tackle Jonathan Martin (71), center right, sit on the bench in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans.
Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin speaks to members of the media outside the office of the NFL lawyer investigating the team's bullying scandal, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in New York.
Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin speaks to members of the media outside the office of the NFL lawyer investigating the team's bullying scandal, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in New York.
Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin speaks to the media outside the office of the NFL lawyer investigating the team's bullying scandal, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in New York.
Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin, center, prepares to speak to members of the media outside the office of the NFL lawyer investigating the team's bullying scandal, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in New York.
In this Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 image made from video made by WSVN-TV in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Miami Dolphin player Richie Incognito is interviewed near his home.
In this Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 image made from video made by WSVN-TV in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Miami Dolphin player Richie Incognito is interviewed near his home. 
Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin responds to questions during a media availability following an NFL football practice, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Davie, Fla. The Dolphins suspended guard Richie Incognito Sunday for misconduct related to the treatment of teammate Jonathan Martin the previous week. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
In this photo from Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) walks across the field for the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Richie Incognito filed a grievance on Nov. 14, 2013, against the Dolphins over his suspension. A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the guard filed it over his suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
In this July 22, 2013, file photo, Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin is interviewed after a practice in Davie, Fla. In the stadium program sold at the Miami Dolphins' game on Halloween, Richie Incognito was asked who's the easiest teammate to scare. His answer: Jonathan Martin.
Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito watches during an NFL football practice at the Dolphins training facility in Davie, Fla., on May 29, 2013.
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill talks to the media on Nov. 6 after NFL officials launched an investigation to try and determine who knew what and when about the troubled relationship between offensive lineman Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.
Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin watches from the sidelines during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in December 2012.
Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin talks to the media during a news conference after NFL officials launched an investigation to try and determine who knew what and when about the troubled relationship between offensive lineman Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11: A Miami Dolphins fan holds a sign for Richie Incognito during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Miami Dolphins fans show their support for Richie Incognito during an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 11.
A Dolphins fan shows his support for Richie Incognito before Miami's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 11.
A Dolphins fan shows his support for Richie Incognito before Miami's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 11.
A Miami Dolphins fan shows his support for Richie Incognito at Raymond James Stadium on Nov. 11.
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