Sitting out last season 'humbled' Bills' Incognito
Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito is one of the central figures in a bullying saga engulfing the Miami Dolphins, and has filed a grievance against the team according to an NFL report. (REUTERS/Doug Benz)
Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito said sitting out a year following the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal in Miami has been a "humbling" experience.
Incognito was suspended for the final eight games of the 2013 season for his role in the scandal in the Dolphins' locker room. After being released by the Dolphins, he met with several teams in 2014 but wound up not playing.
"At the end of the day, humbling is the best way to describe the past year for me," said Incognito, who spoke to reporters Monday on first day of the Bills' voluntary workouts.
The Bills signed Incognito in February to a one-year contract after he met with team owners Terry and Kim Pegula.
Ted Wells, who conducted an independent report on the Dolphins' bullying scandal, found that Incognito and teammates Mike Pouncey and John Jerry repeatedly harassed Martin.
"(What's) keeping me sane is keeping in shape," Incognito said. "I've been training five days a week. I've been hiking, playing a lot of golf."
Incognito, who turns 32 in July, spent three games with the Bills in 2009. He began his career with the St. Louis Rams and played for them from 2005 to 2009 before stints with the Bills and Dolphins.
"It was definitely difficult sitting out, knowing I could still play, knowing I had talent to contribute," Incognito said. "It was a learning process. At first there was a lot of frustration: 'Why am I not signed? Why am I not on a team?' It was a time for inner reflection. Kind of a time for growth.
"Then it was an acceptance, and accepting the fact that I'm not going to play this year, that I'm going to have to chalk it up and wait for another opportunity."
Incognito expressed regret about the harassment allegations.
"There was a lot of things said and done that I wish I could change," he said. "But moving forward, you have to accept that there was definitely a learning process and a growing process and a process that I went through to become a better person. Nobody's perfect. I think the biggest thing is I've learned from what I've went through, I've learned from what went down. I've grown from it."
Incognito met with coach Rex Ryan before joining the Bills.
"Rex Ryan spent a lot of time talking about being a good teammate and coming in and putting my best foot forward," Incognito said. "One of the big things they wanted to make sure was that I could still be myself without having any of the issues."