Bills to sign Incognito, key figure in bullying scandal

Bills to sign Incognito, key figure in bullying scandal

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills are prepared to donate 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 & had been out of football since being suspended & missing the final eight games of the 2013 season.

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

p>Incognito has nine seasons of NFL experience, & 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.

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FILE – In this Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012 file photo, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) looks on …

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 & 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 satisfactory 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 & Indianapolis Colts moreover 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, & 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 & he was claimed by Buffalo. He played three games with the Bills, yet was not re-signed. Overall, he has appeared in 102 games.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org & http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballBuffalo BillsMiami DolphinsJonathan MartinRex RyanNFL

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