If there’s one part of “the process” that might need to be tweaked by Brandon Beane, it’s the retirement process. Many of us thought Eric Wood’s retirement was confusing, but this week’s retirement and subsequent (maybe?) “un-retirement” by guard Richie Incognito on Friday left most of BillsMafia completely baffled.
Let’s take a look at the timeline.
Incognito’s retirement ‘adventure’ appears to have started in March when he agreed to restructure his contract.
BUFFALO! I’m thrilled to be returning this season and fired up to get back to work with my #BuffaloBills brothers. I truly believe in the vision and the path we are on. We have all that we need to finish what we started #honored #letsdothis pic.twitter.com/NtWgkZO9F0
— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) March 15, 2018
Here’s Rochester Democrat & Chronicle’s Sal Maiorana with the details:
“In other news, veteran guard Richie Incognito agreed to what amounted to a pay cut by restructuring the final year of his contract. Details were not readily available, but Incognito was scheduled to make $6.325 million and count $7.575 million against the salary cap.”
However, something appeared to be brewing between March 15 and April 5 when Incognito apparently fired his agent via Twitter.
@AthletesFirst You are Fired! I wish you guys nothing but the best moving forward. Thank you for all of your help and guidance along the way. It’s time for me to go in a new direction ✌🏼
— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) April 5, 2018
Then, five days later, there was this:
— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) April 10, 2018
This tweet was followed up shortly by Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci:
@68INCOGNITO just told me the following: "I'm, done. That's it. 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." Full story to come.
— Vic Carucci (@viccarucci) April 10, 2018
The Buffalo Bills formally announced Incognito’s retirement on Thursday by placing him on the reserved/retired list. Many articles/accolades and well wishes followed, including our own by Anthony Sciandra.
Then on Friday, another tweet from Incognito:
— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) April 14, 2018
What in the blazes is going on?
It’s unlikely we’ll ever know what truly went down (or may still be going down) between Richie Incognito, his agent and the Buffalo Bills.
And that’s OK. The details of his personal situation are really none of our business.
As long as Mr. Incognito is physically and emotionally OK, that’s all that matters. His unexplained comment about his liver and kidneys shutting down is obviously worrisome and we can only hope his health is not really in question.
After all Richie has been through over his entire NFL career, it would be icing on the cake for him to be able to finish his career on a high note – and to do so in Buffalo would be even better.
Buffalo has a special connection with Richie. His rise out of the ashes resembles a similar ascendence of a city coming out of a long dark period. People in Western New York respect a hard working guy if he’s passionate about what he does. Richie has never been short on passion.
My special connection to Richie is something he will likely never know about, but it was none-the-less profound – at least for this old ‘shrink’.
I was very suspect that Incognito would truly be able to change his abrasive ways.
After decades of trying to help people change their lives for the better as a psychotherapist, I had become very jaded and cynical about “leopards changing their spots”. I wasn’t particularly thrilled when the Bills signed him as a redemption project.
Some people can be difficult to work with… and therapy can be a real challenge. Many who try fail to achieve positive results because it requires a tremendous amount of honesty and authenticity to get there. Digging through the tough stuff is dirty work and some struggle with why they should even bother in the first place.
Incognito seemed to embrace psychotherapy and he flourished as a result. He’s been an inspiration for me to watch, especially how he handled himself through his re-entry into the NFL. It warmed this old fossil’s heart to see how much a good psychotherapist can help clients achieve incredible success. Richie’s story is truly compelling and I’m grateful he softened my calloused old heart.
Although we may never know what actually happened over the last few weeks, we can all agree that having Richie back on the Bills’ offensive line is a good thing.
In fact, it’s a great thing.
However, after the massive confusion surrounding Eric Wood’s retirement and the latest retirement/un-retirement (?) by Richie Incognito, one area where “the process” could use a little tweaking is getting the story straight when players decide to call it quits.
Editor’s babble: Let’s hope this is the conclusion of the confusion regarding Mr. Incognito’s status with the Bills. Like many, I’ll be overjoyed to see him back on the field, plowing huge holes for LeSean McCoy. If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can find more more of my drivel on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.
*Views expressed by authors are their own and may or may not represent the owners of the BillsMafia website.