Richie Incognito is retiring after 12 seasons. As early as Tuesday morning, the Bills offensive lineman hinted that he might return in 2018 -- at the right price -- but a short time later he tweeted this:
@nflpa @GeorgeAtallah— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) April 10, 2018
I’m done 😜
"I'm, done. That's it," Incognito told the Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. "It's been a long career. Went to the doctor -- my liver and kidneys are shutting down. The stress is killing me. It's just about doing what's right. I just want to be in the Hall of Fame."
In addition to the previously unknown health concerns, the 34-year-old Incognito remained angry that his base salary had been reduced from $6.3 million to $3.6 million for next season. Of course, he agreed to that pay cut last month, though it came with a $1 million bonus, ostensibly a gesture by the team to let Incognito know they wanted him to return in 2018.
"It pisses me the eff off," Incognito told Carucci. "The contract and all that pissed me the eff off and all that, but (retiring) has nothing to do with that."
So is there a chance Incognito would change his mind?
"Absolutely not," he said.
A 2005 third-round pick of the Rams, Incognito has been named to the Pro Bowl four times, including last season. He ranked fifth among all left guards, according to Pro Football Focus' grades, and his departure leaves the Bills with another hole to fill on the offensive side of the ball, with quarterback currently at the top of the to-do list.
Whether Incognito finds his way to Canton is up for debate, but fair or not, he'll likely be best remembered for his role in the Dolphins bullying scandal that led to his suspension midway through the 2013 season. Incognito didn't play in 2014 but the Bills and then-coach Rex Ryan took a chance on him in 2015.
He promised to prove his skeptics wrong when he was signed.
"I think I've had enough dirty laundry aired, and I think I've had all the skeletons in my closet thrown out," Incognito said in June 2015. "I'm at the point in my career, especially under Rex, if I got something to say I'm going to say it. I've been around the block and I've definitely had my run-ins, and I've definitely had my time in the media, but I'm just looking forward. I'm excited about the opportunity. I'm excited about getting back to work."
For the most part, that's what he did; Incognito was the NFL's best left guard in 2015, according to PFF, and the following offseason he signed a three-year, $15.8 million deal. He ranked third among left guards in 2016 and he made the Pro Bowl in all three years he was in Buffalo. And now he says he's done.