Welcome back, Richie?

Photo of G Richie Incognito from si.com.

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.

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.

Then, five days later, there was this:

This tweet was followed up shortly by Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci:

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:

Oh my.

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.

Photo of G Richie Incognito from sportsnaut.com and USATODAY.com.

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.

Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive guard Richie Incognito (64) gestures to fans following the game against the New York Jets at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BuffaloFAMbase.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.

3 Replies to “Welcome back, Richie?”

  1. Richie Richie Richie…. Many of us at one time or another wanted to quit our jobs maybe at the moment he just threw up his hands and said he had enough… He changed his mind a couple of days later… He has been impulsive in the past as when he took the bat to his Ferrari in 2014.

    As fans we are glad that he is back but the Bills will need to start grooming someone for his replacement.

  2. From Bills Daily :

    Richie Incognito continues to cause drama with his tweets. Here’s a quick recap. First he signed a new contract taking a pay cut but received a signing bonus. Then he fired his agent presumably unhappy with his pay cut. Then he suddenly retired citing health reasons. Then he tweeted that he would see the Bills at the start of organized team activities tomorrow. Finally, he tweeted that he wants the Bills to release him and contact the agent he supposedly fired. Get all that? Richie wants his cake and eat it to. He wants the Bills to cut him so he can keep his signing bonus and then try to find a better deal elsewhere. Why would he take the pay cut then? He could have forced the Bills hand by not agreeing to the pay cut and then he would have probably got his release.


  3. Thanks for the article Robyn. I don’t know what is going on with Richie, but I hope the guy is mentally stable. Mental illness is rough to go through by itself. If Richie has CTE to go along with mental illness, then it doesn’t make for a good combination. I know I’m just speculating, but if that is the case, then maybe it’s best Richie retires and gets the help he needs physically and emotionally.

    Bills signed WR Jeremy Kerley. I imagine Kerley will be worked in the slot and will be the #4 WR.