Some Broncos fans seem open to the idea of adding Incognito, while others are understandably against it. So I wanted to get the opinion of a fan who knows far more about Incognito's issues, perceived or real, and his impact on a team and its fans- someone from the Miami Dolphins' fanbase.
I spoke with Kevin Nogle, lead blogger of SB Nation's The Phinsider. Big thanks to Kevin for taking the time to answer these questions!
MHR: What would you describe as the pros and cons of bringing in Richie Incognito? Is it as simple as pros: football, cons: locker room?
Kevin Nogle: Incognito is a great guard that is going to make any offensive line better. He goes all out on every single play, and he is not afraid of anyone. The downside is, of course, his reputation and psyche. Incognito has psychological issues, which when medicated, are not an issue. After the whole bounty scandal last year, he felt the entire world was against him, and he fell further into whatever his normal issues are. That's how the beating of his own car happened.
I still think the bounty scandal was overblown. I've read the Ted Wells report, and, yes, Incognito was over the line. The problem is, I don't think he or anyone else realized they were actually hurting Jon Martin because he gave it out too. It seemed like an over the top frat lifestyle among the offensive linemen. I think that's part of why it hurt Incognito so much. He truly cared for Martin, and when it suddenly came out that he was the cause of Martin's issues, he withdrew and spiraled.
Jake Long was the clear leader of the offensive line up until he left in the offseason before the 2013 season. With him gone, Incognito's Type-A personality made him the de facto leader of the group, and he didn't have that strong person to keep him in check. As long as the offensive line, and/or the team, has that leadership, and his meds are back working, Incognito will be fine.
MHR: Do you think teams have strayed from signing Incognito because of genuine concerns about his personal conduct or more because of a potential PR backlash?
KN: I really think it's a PR thing. Incognito is a great teammate most of the time, and a great player. Of course, he has a reputation, and one that he deserves. He goes over the top, which is what happened in Miami. He is going to be a locker room concern for any team until he gets into the locker room and finds his place. I think the PR hit and the media scrutiny it will bring is the bigger concern, though.
MHR: Would the Dolphins ever welcome Incognito back? Would Dolphins fans?
KN: I don't think the Dolphins ever could or would welcome him back. It's too much of a PR issue. I think the players would welcome him back, because, while the would likely agree some of the things were too far over the line, he was still seen as a member of the team and as a brother. The players all liked Incognito, and I would imagine it would be the same if he came back. That being said, I don't think there is anyway they actually could have him back without it being a distraction.
Big thanks again to Kevin for taking the time! For more of The Phinsider's coverage of Incognito, check out their storystream with dozens of updates.