Incognito by name, Incognito for good? Latest on Dolphins 'scandal'

Miami Dolphins

Richard Moore on the Miami Dolphins 'bullying' scandal rocking the NFL.

Incognito by name, incognito for good?

Ritchie Incognito’s NFL career could well be coming to an unceremonious end very soon, according to an unnamed source with ties to the Dolphins organization. Although at this time USA TODAY Sports reported that the source in question will remain anonymous, having not been granted the authority to discuss the matter publicly.

This represents something of a U-turn, as just 16 hours after the Dolphins issued a statement denying allegations of bullying, Miami suspended Incognito for ‘conduct detrimental to the team’.

In the wake of this announcement, another anonymous source with insider knowledge came forward and informed the aforementioned publication that the team’s statement had upset representatives of Incognito’s alleged victim - offensive tackle, Jonathan Martin, who proceeded to issue evidence that sparked and NFL workplace review and the subsequent suspension of Incognito.

As stated previously, it’s very possible that the alleged harassment, which reached shocking levels of insidiousness via a particularly unpleasant voicemail message from Incognito to Martin, that the death knell on Incognito’s NFL career has been sounded; well, if this example published in Adam Schefter’s November 5th column via ESPN is anything to go by - “Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of s---. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s--- in your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

Asked whether the accused would find another job if cut, an executive in personnel for an unnamed NFL team told USA TODAY Sports “I think he can file his retirement papers”.

Another NFL personnel man stated that Incognito, though a mid-level starter entering his 9th year, shouldn’t be allowed near an NFL locker room, and Former Bears Coach, and now ESPN analyst, Mike Ditka went as far as to question how a man, fellow analyst Tom Jackson described as ‘racist’ and ‘bigoted’, ‘got this far [the NFL] in life’ and added ‘This kind of behaviour, there’s just no place for it in sports, or anything”, before suggesting that ‘somebody’s got to take him outside, and hey, take a shot at him’.

Bizarrely, even in light of mounting evidence, teammates such as tackle Bryant McKinnie, leapt to the defence Richie Incognito, saying ‘I thought they [Incognito and Martin] were friends’ and even quarterback Ryan Tannehill, during a Wednesday media session, went as far as to tell NFL.com’s Kevin Patra "If you asked Jonathan Martin who his best friend is on this team two weeks ago, he'd say Richie Incognito”. "[The] first guy to stand up for Jonathan when anything went down on the field -- any kind of tussle -- Richie was the first guy there.

Despite the clear towing of company lines at play here, Coach Joe Philbin said that the Dolphins would cooperate fully with the NFL’s workplace review, calling it ‘comprehensive and objective’.

It appears that the root cause for the alleged harassment stemmed from older players seeking out younger more impressionable players to cover the cost of meals, and in the case of Martin, contribute $15,000 to help finance a trip to Las Vegas, even though Martin opted out of the trip itself.

Whether in the words of rookie and fellow Dolphin, Will Davis, this sort of behaviour is “an NFL thing”, recent evidence would suggest the NFL, is as Time Magazine puts it "a naturally twisted workplace”, one that if not un-twisted, could claim yet more victims at the hands of such abhorrent behaviour.

Bill Polian told ESPN that Richie Incognito was on a D.N.D, ‘Do not draft’ list. Perhaps we now know why…

Rudolph out for a month with broken foot

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph will be consigned to the side-lines for at least the next month with a broken left foot. Coach Leslie Frazier gave an update on Monday, a day after Rudolph sustained the injury on a 31-yard reception during Minnesota’s 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Rudolph has 30 receptions for 313-yards and three touchdowns through 2013-14.

Manning-up?

The San Francisco 49ers activated receiver Mario Manningham on Monday from the physically unable to perform list, meaning that he will be available to face a resurgent Carolina Panthers team on Sunday.

Manningham had 442-yards from 49 receptions, and one touchdown in 12 games and 10 starts during the 2012-13 season, before injury in San Francisco’s 42-13 humiliation at the hands of current NFC West leaders Seattle, on December 23rd.

He has been practising for two weeks, and the team had until yesterday to add him to the 53-man roster.

If this comes as a boost, San Francisco could well be in for a double dose of help at receiver if recent reports on the San Francisco 49ers official website are anything to go by, as senior reporter Taylor Price revealed yesterday that fellow wideout Micheal Crabtree has been practicing again, even if so far that practicing has amounted to little more than individual drills.

Crabtree (85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns) has been out of action since tearing his right Achilles tendon on the first day of organized team activities in May.

Ben-galling!

The Cincinnati Bengals have placed tackle Geno Atkins on Injured reserve, four days after he tore the anterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee.

Atkins suffered the injury during the first half of the Bengals 22-20 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Atkins led all interior linemen in sacks last season with 12.5 sacks.

Bad Tuel’s require a new Manuel!!

The quarterbacking carousel is about to stop spinning and land at EJ Manuel, as the first-year starter was cleared to return from a knee injury on Monday.

Manuel, 23, avoided a major injury, although he did suffer a sprained lateral collateral ligament in his right knee sustained on a hit at the end of scramble against the Cleveland Browns on the 3rd of October.

As a result, the rookie signalman ended up missing four games, three started by Thad Lewis, and one by Jeff Tuel, who proved very much to be tuel by name, tuel by nature, going 18 of 39 for 229-yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the still unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs. A game Lewis sat out with bad ribs.

Regardless, Manuel still needs to prove he is healthy and sharp enough in practice to reclaim the starting job, but it appears he’ll thrown into action sooner rather than later for the Bills trip to Heinz Field on Sunday.

The Florida State product, who was the 16th overall pick in April’s draft, also had knee surgery prior to the start of the current campaign, but made it for the Bills season opener. To date Manual has passed for 985-yards, with five scores, and three interceptions, all of which have combining to register a passer rating of 79.4.

And in first place…

With the biggest regular season fast approaching, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, many peoples favourite for the coveted Heisman Trophy, ever so slightly extended his lead in the third weekly Heisman Trophy survey of voters from Gannett newspapers.

Mariota earned 70 voting points this week for 45% of the total, and he’s in some pretty illustrious company as far as the top three are concerned, with Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston (31.0%) and Texas A&M phenomenon Johnny Manziel aka ‘Johnny Football’ (18%).

Mariota’s vote share rose 3 percentage points from last week’s survey. Winston’s slid one point, and Manziel’s grew slightly and improved by two points.

The two other players to receive votes were Alabama’s AJ McCarron, earning 4% of the votes, and RG3’s successor at Baylor, Bryce Petty, 2%.

Mariota, Winston, McCarron, and Petty each have the unique distinction of leading their teams to unbeaten records in 2013. Mariota, Petty, and McCarron, are all facing highly ranked teams this week, with Mariota and Oregon at No.6 ranked Stanford Today, and Alabama hosting No.12 LSU on Saturday and Petty and Baylor hosting No.8 Oklahoma, also today.

The players ranking is ultimately determined by three points being awarded for first-place votes, two for second, and one for third.

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