Raiders

Raiders

The Raiders always knew this could happen when they signed troubled offensive lineman Richie Incognito. Now, it's official. 

Incognito has been suspended without pay by the NFL for the first two games of the 2019 regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. 

Incognito was convicted of disorderly conduct stemming from an Aug. 2018 incident at an Arizona funeral home shortly after his father’s death. He reportedly was also taken to a mental health hospital after making threats in a Florida gym in May 2018.

This comes years after his publicized bullying scandal with the Dolphins. He missed the entire 2014 season for the incident.

"We can’t control what the NFL will do," Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said to reporters in late May about a possible Incognito suspension. 

Mayock and coach Jon Gruden made an emphasis on high-character players this offseason. The Incognito signing isn't exactly in line with that. 

"Both Jon and I have talked a lot about foundation. We have reinforced that with our draft. At the end of the day, you can’t have all Boy Scouts," Mayock said. "You have to do your homework in each individual case. We’ve done our homework. We’ve talked to an awful lot of people. We talked to Richie and told him what we expect on and off the field and we’ll expect him to adhere to that. … The infrastructure will be here for him to use.”

 

The Raiders signed Incognito to a one-year contract on May 28, and he practiced with the starting unit that same day. He fit in well during the offseason program and remains the presumptive starter upon return from his suspension. They will have to wait two games to see what the veteran can provide on the field, and need a fill-in during that time. 

Denzelle Good will get that gig. He was in line to start at left guard before Incognito signed, though Gruden said he wanted competition at that spot. Good filled in well there late last season, when Kelechi Osemele was banged up. That performance earned a return engagement and added the depth required to whether an injury or, in this case, a suspension to start the season. 

Incognito just turned 36 but is in great physical shape and those close to him say he's in a good place mentally for a return to NFL football. He sat out last season after retiring briefly, ending a productive three-year run with Buffalo. His return with the Raiders fills an immediate need and strengthens the offensive line's lone weak spot.

The Raiders offensive line is looking to improve after allowing 52 sacks and only gaining a pedestrian 4.2 yards per carry.