ALAMEDA – Richie Incognito expressed that his actions and his role in Jonathan Martin leaving the Miami Dolphins due to emotional distress have been portrayed inaccurately. Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson passed that message along after speaking with the troubled offensive lineman this week.
“He felt it was taken out of context,” Olson said on Thursday. “He felt he had a good relationship with not only the player in question but most of the players in the locker room.”
Incognito, a veteran left guard, has been suspended by the Dolphins for conduct detrimental to the team for allegedly harassing Martin, an offensive tackle and Stanford alum. The NFL Players Association is conducting an investigation, which has sparked national debate.
Olson got to know Incognito in 2006, the first of two seasons as St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator. Incognito was a second-year pro, and the two have kept in touch over the years.
“In my recollection and experience with Richie – I’ve talked to Richie this week – he brings an element of toughness,” Olson said. “That’s what he is. I do believe some of the things were taken out of context. I hope that’s the case. Obviously, we all hope that’s the case. His personality is very high strung. He was a tough player. The other things outside of that, I just think it’s really sad, and you hope that what’s being said isn’t true.”
This isn’t the first time Olson has reached out to Incognito in times of duress. Olson did so in 2009, after Incognito was released Dec. 15 following a series of incidents. He was benched twice for losing his composure during a game, the last of which resulted in an argument with then Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo.
“I reached out there because that wasn’t the Richie that I knew,” Olson said. “He went over the top there in the end in St. Louis. At that point, I reached out because I thought, ‘This guy’s going to need help. He’ll never play again in the National Football League.’”
Incognito carried on with Buffalo and then Miami, where he has played since 2010. The two spoke intermittently and recently, and Olson believed he saw change in the volatile lineman.
“I had a chance to visit with him in Tampa (Olson was Buccaneers offensive coordinator at the time) when we played the Dolphins,” Olson said. “I just felt like, at that time, he turned a corner in terms of maturity and the importance of being a football player, but also being responsible in his actions.”
Olson called Incognito a “veteran leader,” but said players must lead in the right way. Recent accusations regarding his treatment of Martin suggests his style was inappropriate.
“It is disappointing, some of the things we’re hearing and reading now. You hope it’s not true.”