After taking a year off and serving a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, Richie Incognito made his return to the league last week as a starting guard for the Oakland Raiders.
INCOGNITO: It was obviously something I regret. It’s the one line I can’t cross. Sometimes, you say the worst things to the people closest to you, but I definitely don’t feel that that makes me a racist person.
GOLDBERG: He was a soft-spoken guy. You drove him out of the league.
INCOGNITO: I did not drive him out of the league. I believe his mental health issues and his demons in his past drove him out of the league.
GOLDBERG: But there was a 144-page report that accused you of relentlessly bullying him.
INCOGNITO: I think the report was unfair to my side of things. I think the gentleman who did the independent investigation came in with the preconceived notion that I was guilty of doing this. I fit the bill. Hey, racist, homophobic, whatnot. What I’m saying was, we were close, personal friends. It wasn’t factored into, ‘Hey, this is guy talk, these are two alpha males talkin’ to each other.’ Was some bad s--- said? Absolutely. But was this a case of bullying? Absolutely not.
Incognito: Alcohol, marijuana were problematic
Incognito also discussed the funeral home incident. He told Goldberg that he wasn’t thinking straight during the incident because of a lack of sleep and the influence of alcohol and marijuana.
“I thought I was acting normal,” Incognito said. “You couple in the days not sleeping, then the heavy marijuana use, plus the drinking. All that is a recipe for disaster for a person like myself.”
Incognito’s arrival this offseason with the Raiders was largely overshadowed by the barrage of controversy provided by Antonio Brown.
With Brown out of the picture now, any further missteps from Incognito won’t go unnoticed.
Richie Incognito through his NFL career
Richie Incognito through his NFL career
ST. LOUIS - 2006: Richie Incognito of the St. Louis Rams poses for his 2006 NFL headshot at photo day in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Getty Images)
St. Louis Rams Richie Incognito runs onto the field before a game against the Denver Broncos September 10, 2006 at the Edward Jones Dome in St Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Broncos 18 - 10. (Photo by Frank Orris/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Guard Richie Incognito #68 of the St. Louis Rams waves goodbye to the home Arizona Cardinals crowd on September 24, 2006 at Cardinals Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 16-14. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 11: Richie Incognito #68 of the St. Louis Rams looks on before a game against the Chicago Bears on December 11, 2006 at the Edward Jones Dome Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
ATLANTA - DECEMBER 27: Richie Incognito #62 of the Buffalo Bills against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
DAVIE, FL - MAY 19: Richie Incognito #68 of the Miami Dolphins answers questions from the media after the organized team activities on May 19, 2010 at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 06: Offensive guard Richie Incognito #68 of the Miami Dolphins gets set on offense against the Kansas City Chiefs during a game on November 6, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Dolphins won 31-3. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
16 September 2012: Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) after the game against the Oakland Raiders in Miami's 35-13 victory at Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida. (Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
Miami Dolphins fans show their support for Richie Incognito during an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. (Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 29: Offensive guard Richie Incognito #64 of the Buffalo Bills gets set to block on the line against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half on November 29, 2015 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
03 SEPTEMBER 2015: Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito (64) is seen on the sideline during game action between the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions during a preseason game played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11: Head coach Rex Ryan of the Buffalo Bills celebrates with Richie Incognito #64 after the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 11, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Bills defeated the Titans 14-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 8: Richie Incognito #64 of the Buffalo Bills greets fans as he leaves the stadium during a NFL game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Jerome Davis/Getty Images)
September 1, 2016: Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito (64) during game action between the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions during a preseason game played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.
(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 13: Richie Incognito #64 of the Buffalo Bills watches game action from the sideline during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts on August 13, 2016 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Indianapolis defeated Buffalo 19-18. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)