Richie Incognito has been forward-thinking in his public comments since signing with the Raiders in late May. He took a look backward at some harrowing incidents from 2018 and beyond in a sit-down interview with HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” that details troubling moments from his past.
Incognito is happy to have a clean slate right now, however, upon return to the Raiders following a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
“There’s a lot of crazy stuff in my past, and I wanted to come in here and show the world that, ‘hey. I’m okay,’” Incognito said in a magazine show segment that will air Tuesday night on HBO. “I’m excited about playing for the Oakland Raiders. I’m ready to learn from where I’ve been and move forward.”
HBO unearthed police camera footage of Incognito being arrested in a May 2018 incident where he was throwing objects at someone in a Florida gym and was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold.
The police footage shows Incognito ranting out unusual things while clearly not in a proper state of mind.
“I was spun out, with paranoia to the nth degree,” Incognito said. “I had not taken care of myself for so long, with lack of sleep and not eating and marijuana and drinking heavily for days and days and weeks on end. That’s what you get, a highly paranoid, very large individual talking a bunch of nonsense.”
Incognito was also arrested in Aug. of 2018 following an incident where he allegedly threatened to shoot people inside an Arizona funeral home shortly after his father’s death.
Those incidents came during a temporary retirement after he left the Buffalo Bills after three Pro Bowl seasons.
“I had fallen into the trap of drinking and drugging again during the 2017 season,” Incognito said. “I was showing up to team functions high. I was not as motivated. I was overweight. A lot of red flags went up. In seeing that, they asked me to take a pay cut, and I said I was retiring and moving on.”
Incognito decided to return to the NFL this year, signing a one-year contract with the Raiders. He says he is in good mental and physical health, ready for the rigors of an NFL season that formally starts for him Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings.
The Raiders are his fourth NFL team and his latest try to get it right and eliminate a poor reputation established during an investigation into whether he bullied Miami Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin that was front-page news for weeks. Here’s what Incognito had to say about that well-publicized investigation into whether he was harassing Martin with racial and homophobic remarks.
Incognito on using a racial slur toward Martin: “It’s obviously something I regret. It’s one line I can’t cross. Sometimes you say the worst things to the people closest to you. I definitely don’t feel like that makes me a racist person.”
On whether he drove Martin away from the NFL. “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.”
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On the NFL bullying investigation: I” think the report was unfair to my side of things. I think the gentlemen doing the investigation came in with a preconceived notion that I was guilty of doing that. I fit the bill, racist, homophobic and whatnot.
“What I’m saying is that we were close personal friends. It was not factored into the fact it was guy talk. These are two alpha males talking to each other. Was some bad s--t said? Absolutely. Was this a case of bullying? Absolutely not.”