Bills guard Richie Incognito “done” with football

ORCHARD PARK – The Buffalo Bills already lost one starting member of their offensive line to retirement this offseason in center Eric Wood. Now they’re set to lose another.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday SI’s Peter King shared that Bills guard Richie Incognito was “strongly considering retirement.” After numerous reports and a series of tweets from Incognito himself, it appears the 34-year-old will be calling it quits.

Following King’s report, Incognito directed a cryptic tweet at the report at the NFL Player’s Association Twitter account. The tweet read “I’m done,” but featured a curious laughing emoji which suggested that perhaps Incognito was joking.

The timing of all this was very interesting, considering just days earlier the 34-year-old guard abruptly fired Athletes First as his representation agency over Twitter, without any explanation. A few weeks prior to that, Incognito took a sizeable pay cut to stay with Bills, which dropped his 2018 base salary from $6.325 million to $3.65 million. His overall cap hit dropped from $7.575 million to $5.9 million and saved Buffalo $1.675 million in cap space.

Per Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News, the pay cut angered Incognito, but wasn’t a leading factor in considering retirement.

Through Carucci, Incognito officially announced that he was retiring, siting health issues — specifically to his liver and kidneys — along with excessive stress on his body as the reason he’s considering hanging it up after 12 seasons.

Incognito’s career was certainly not without controversy. In 2013 his involvement in a bullying scandal with fellow Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin got him exiled from the league one year later. It was the Bills and then head coach Rex Ryan that gave him a second chance in the NFL on a one-year deal in 2015. The prove-it deal worked out beautifully for Incognito who was invited to his second Pro Bowl that season and worked hard to fix his public image. That offseason, the 11-year veteran took a hometown discount of sorts with Buffalo as a thank you for allowing him to resurrect his career.

Back in January, Incognito found himself at the center of another scandal, following the Bills wild card loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars — the franchise’s first playoff game in 17 years. Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue accused Incognito of using a racial slur during the contest. It prompted an investigation by the league into the incident, but no punishment was handed down and the two parties admitted to talking things out at the Pro Bowl. Over the course of his career, Incognito made the Pro Bowl four times, including each of the last three seasons with Buffalo.

While Incognito’s unexpected retirement frees up $2.15 million in cap space for the Bills, it also leaves them with another void to fill leading up to the NFL Draft later this month. Additionally, it complicates their pursuit of a rookie quarterback, who they’d hate to put into action behind a makeshift offensive line.

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