Richie Incognito’s stall inside the Miami Dolphins locker room was loaded with packages, papers and plenty of football equipment Monday.
The sign was gone, though.
“There are two things Richie Incognito does not like,” read a small sign that until very recently adorned the front of the now-suspended Miami offensive lineman’s locker. On one line in small orange letters, the first entry on that list was “Taxes.” The second line, in larger black type, was “Rookies.”
“He’s a funny guy,” Dolphins cornerback Will Davis said Monday. “Everybody loves him.”
Maybe, maybe not. There’s not much to laugh about in the Dolphins’ locker room these days, not with offensive lineman Jonathan Martin having left the club to handle emotional issues. And Incognito, his alleged tormentor, since banished from the team in yet another entry on a long list of troubling events marring his playing career.
“None of it shocks me,” said New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, who played with Incognito in college at Nebraska and then with the St. Louis Rams. “I don’t know any of the details obviously. The league hasn’t released anything. Richie is ... this seems to be a person with a tortured soul.”
Two people have told The Associated Press that Incognito sent Martin text messages that were racist and threatening. The Dolphins suspended Incognito on Sunday night for conduct detrimental to the team, and neither he nor Martin was with the team Monday.
Agents for the two players didn’t respond to requests for comment. Martin is with his family in Los Angeles for counseling.
The entire culture of the Dolphins’ locker room is now being scrutinized, including whether racism and bullying was not only going on, but either unnoticed or permitted.
“I love Richie. I think he’s a great guy,” Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace said. “He’s an intense guy. Everybody knows that. I think he was just being Richie. I love playing with Richie. I wish he was here right now.”
Incognito’s checkered past is well-chronicled.
He was charged with assault, caught spitting on an opponent, kicked out of a game and reportedly restrained by teammates while trying to fight another — and that was just at Nebraska, which eventually kicked him off the team. He then tried to play at Oregon, and never even made it onto the practice field for the Ducks before getting banished again.
And in the NFL, he’s been basically called one thing: a dirty player.
“That dude,” NFL veteran Vonnie Holliday said in 2010, “has like a screw loose.”