Thursday, April 24, 2014
By Steven Wine
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
In this July 24, 2013 file photo, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) and tackle Jonathan Martin (71) stand on the field during an NFL football practice in Davie, Fla. Two people familiar with the situation say suspended Dolphins guard Incognito sent text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin that were racist and threatening. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins and NFL haven’t disclosed the nature of the misconduct that led to Incognito’s suspension. Martin remained absent from practice Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, one week after he suddenly left the team.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
TO READ a transcript of one of the alleged racist voicemails, click here. (Warning: It contains graphic, racial language).
"If the review shows that this is not a safe atmosphere, I will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that it is," Philbin said. "I have that obligation to the players that I coach on a daily basis, and I will do that."
Before being suspended, Incognito posted several tweets saying he wanted his name cleared.
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth," Incognito tweeted, quoting Buddha.
Incognito, who's in the final year of a $13 million, three-year contract, has long had a reputation of being among the NFL's dirtiest players. During his first four years, he led the league in penalties for unnecessary roughness, and the St. Louis Rams got fed up with his undisciplined play and released him during the 2009 season.
"There's certain people out there who are just punks, and he wants to be that kind of guy," former Seahawks and Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson said Monday. "But because he's a lineman, he gets away with a lot of stuff that people don't see. ... Incognito is way worse than anybody I ever played against."
However, there have been fewer such complaints since Incognito joined the Dolphins in 2010.
Last year he was voted by the league's players into the Pro Bowl for the first time. He was the co-winner of the Dolphins' Good Guy Award, given to the team's most cooperative player by the local media. He also won frequent praise from Dolphins coaches for his leadership, and this year he was voted by teammates to serve as a member of the Dolphins' player council.
At Nebraska, Incognito's career was cut short when he was suspended in 2004 before his junior season following a locker room altercation with a teammate. He also ran into problems with the law while with the Cornhuskers, and they said he repeatedly violated team rules.
Martin protected Andrew Luck's blind side at Stanford before joining Miami as a second-round draft pick in 2012. He has been a starter since the beginning of his rookie season, but has struggled while dividing his time between left and right tackle.
Stanford coach David Shaw said people at the school had been in touch with Martin.
"I'm a Jonathan Martin fan, so my interest is just in him getting back to the point where he gets a chance to play this game that he loves again," Shaw said. "By all accounts he's doing well. Not sure if he's going to rejoin the team this year, or when he is, but I know he's going to get himself back ready to play the game."
For the first six games this year, Incognito and Martin were the two players protecting Ryan Tannehill's blind side. Their troubled relationship may help explain his NFL-high 35 sacks.