Incognito-Raiders inquiries much ado about nothing

Incognito-Raiders inquiries much ado about nothing
March 25, 2014, 7:15 am
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Owner Mark Davis on Richie Incognito: "I’d have to think about it." GM Reggie McKenzie: "Nothing of consequence." (USATSI)

Programming note: Raiders Insider Scott Bair is in Orlando, Florida for the NFL owners meetings; check back for all his coverage and watch SportsNet Central every night at 6 and 10:30 p.m. for all the day’s football news

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Richie Incognito is all the rage these days, true tabloid fodder in the sports world. The mercurial left guard notorious for involvement in a Miami Dolphins bullying scandal that reached national consciousness and refuses to go away is on the free-agent market, hoping for another shot with an NFL team.

The Raiders got swept up in Hurricane Incognito last week, when the accomplished veteran told NFL Network he’d like to represent the Silver and Black.

“I’m 100 percent into that,” Incognito said. “I think that would fit my personality the best. It makes so much sense.”

[RELATED: Incognito: Raiders would 'fit my personality the best']

That’s created a storyline that simply won’t end at the NFL owners meetings. Incognito comes up whenever a Raiders rep steps to the mic, and it’s always the same question.

Are the Raiders interested in Richie Incognito?

Owner Mark Davis said seven words about him: “I’d have to think about it.” That looks one way written down -- consideration could be implied on paper -- but his tone provides proper context. Davis’ words came with extreme hesitance, given only after first trying to deflect the question to general manger Reggie McKenzie.

McKenzie was asked about Incognito later Monday and said nothing. That’s "nothing of consequence." Not a no comment. Simple radio silence.

Those interactions were interpreted in laughably different ways. One site said the Raiders are open to signing Incognito. Another said Davis wouldn’t rule it out. One national site had perpendicular Incognito headlines on the same timeline. 

While the media has put time, effort and ink into Incognito’s every move, the Raiders haven’t given him much thought. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson and offensive line coach Tony Sparano have worked well with the Incognito in the past, but that doesn’t mean he’s coming to Oakland.

[RELATED: Raiders not the team Incognito thinks they are]

In fact, the Raiders have stocked up on the interior line. They’ve signed Kevin Boothe to play left guard. They’re going to try Austin Howard at right guard in camp. They have Mike Brisiel and Tony Bergstrom in support. They re-signed Khalif Barnes, who can play guard and tackle.

Even so, Allen wouldn’t rule formally rule Incognito out -- he rarely does regarding player acquisition -- but it certainly isn’t on the front burner. Allen believes the Raiders could absorb a player character concerns, though their actions suggest they shy away from combustable talents.

“I wasn’t there (in Miami), so I don’t know the things that went on,” Allen said Tuesday. “I have two coaches in my building who have been with Richie before, and everybody wants to connect the dots and make a story that’s not really there right now. I get it. I understand that. If we get to that situation (where we’d consider him), we’d cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Even if the Raiders pondered an acquisition, it’s uncertain when Incognito might be available. The offending players in the Ted Wells report -- Incognito is a feature subject -- has to pass a league-mandated medical evaluation before being cleared to play.

“The first thing is to get the evaluation and determine what the treatment is,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Depending on what the doctors prescribe, that could prevent them from being a part of football for some period of time. But that is a medical decision.”