Ever since he came into the NFL with the St. Louis Rams as a third-round pick in 2005, guard Richie Incognito has been well-known as a player with no problem covering up any gaps in his talent with an ever-increasing repertoire of questionable tactics. Incognito is especially active after a play ends.
Officials have noticed to a degree -- Incognito, who has played for the Miami Dolphins since 2010, was his team's most penalized player in 2011 with nine total infractions. That included five holding calls, two personal fouls, one unnecessary roughness penalty and one illegal block.
Incognito was penalized twice for holding in the Dolphins' 30-10 loss to the Houston Texans, but Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith, one of the best in the game for a number of years, said after the game that Incognito should have been draped in penalty flags after the stuff he allegedly pulled.
"A dirty player being let to play dirty … Ricky Incognito. Everything that's illegal that can be done on the football field he does it, but mainly he was hitting people after the play, sliding down on your leg grabbing your ankle and trying to twist to break your ankle and he was doing it right in front of the referees and he was still in the game.
"It's the referees' job to stop him from doing it because everything that I would do to stop him I would get a penalty for.
"I told myself you've got to humble yourself and keep playing. There were so many times that I would have to loved [it] to just be like hockey. Drop the helmets off, drop the gloves, go fisticuffs. We're men. Let's go at it."
It's not often that a player of Smith's caliber would make such aggressive public statements, but there's something about Incognito that gets pretty far up people's noses at the best of times.
As the Riverfront Times opined in 2009, as part of an article entitled, "Is Richie Incognito a few fries short of a Happy Meal?", the veteran guard's focus seems to be on his own machismo issues, and less on the actual game.
The burly blonde lineman was single-handedly responsible for 35 yards worth of penalties, including two drive-killing unnecessary roughness flags for fighting after the whistle. He also missed a block that allowed one of the three [Seattle Seahawks] sacks. And when he was yanked from the line-up at start of the second half, he jawed at the coach over the decision.
So things haven't really gotten any worse in Richie Incognito's world; it's just that Antonio Smith was specific enough in calling him out to make the world wonder anew whether Incognito is indeed the dullest tool in the NFL's shed.
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