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Incognito grievance hearing delayed

The SportsXchange

Richie Incognito's grievance hearing against the Miami Dolphins was postponed Thursday until NFL investigator Ted Wells finishes his independent investigation of bullying allegations.

The Dolphins and the suspended left guard were set to appear before an independent arbitrator who will decide the offensive lineman's immediate fate.

Incognito and the Dolphins agreed to postpone his grievance hearing.

"I will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation with a goal of resuming my career with the Miami Dolphins at the conclusion of this investigation," Incognito said in a statement released through the NFL Players Association. "I love my teammates and hope we can put this distraction behind us soon."

The Dolphins also released a statement:

"The Miami Dolphins and Richie Incognito have agreed to postpone his grievance hearing during his ongoing suspension. Richie is cooperating fully with the NFL investigation and will meet with Ted Wells."

The hearing now has an undetermined date, according to an ESPN source familiar with process. It is likely to be after the date in which the Dolphins will have to decide whether to reinstate or release Incognito by Dec. 2.

Wells still is interviewing members of the Dolphins organization but is expected to wrap up those interviews by the end of this week.

Incognito had arrived at the Dolphins facility around 3 p.m. Thursday.

At the Dolphins' request, the league is looking into the issues that led up to offensive tackle Jonathan Martin walking away from the team Oct. 28, citing bullying from Incognito and other teammates.

Incognito was suspended Nov. 3 after reportedly having text messages and voicemails he left for Martin turned over to the team and the NFL as part of the investigation. Incognito was suspended indefinitely, but the actual suspension can last a maximum of four games, per the collective bargaining agreement.

The total suspension costs can't exceed four game checks, plus one additional game check, or roughly $1.2 million.

If the Dolphins win the arbitration hearing, the team still has just 10 days left to decide what to do with Incognito. Under the CBA, his suspension would end on Dec. 1 when the team is supposed to be playing the New York Jets.

Incognito requested an expedited hearing when he filed his grievance last week. The complaint said Incognito alleges the Dolphins haven't provided examples of the conduct that was detrimental to the team which led to the suspension.

Incognito will have lawyer Mark Schamel, along with the NFLPA on his side when the hearing is held.

Incognito still has friends in the locker room. Center Mike Pouncey, who was out sick last week, said he watched Sunday's game at home accompanied by Incognito.

"He's doing really good," Pouncey said. "He's in good spirits. He wants to get back on this football team and wants to get back and play football. Richie Incognito, the football player, so that's the only thing he knows. He's missing it to death. He'll be all right."

Pouncey and Dolphins tackle Tyson Clabo both said they met with Wells this week.

"Everything went very well, so we will see how it goes," Pouncey said, according to ESPN.com. "We were in there for a while. They asked a bunch of questions. ... It seemed like a long time but it probably wasn't. They got all the questions they wanted to get out of us and we gave them all the trustful answers."
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