The Raiders know Richie Incognito comes with baggage. The four-time Pro Bowl guard has had numerous off-field issues in the past few years, including a suspension for bullying a teammate and incidents in which he was accused of threatening people in Arizona and Florida.
Yet the Raiders are gambling on Incognito anyway.
Perhaps if Oakland had a proven starter at left guard going into this season, they wouldn’t take the risk. But with Kelechi Osemele gone and former Colt Denzelle Good penciled in as the starter, the Raiders signed Incognito to a one-year contract earlier this week.
Now, general manager Mike Mayock has defended the signing to reporters during this week’s organized team activities (OTAs).
“Whenever he’s been focused on activities solely on the field, he’s been fine,” Mayock told the media. “We’ve done a one-year prove-it deal with him, and ‘prove it’ means both on and off the field. There are some expectations that he has to meet in both areas. He turns 36 in July. We think he’s going to be a good football player and allow himself to compete for the left-guard job, and just as importantly he has to prove it off the field.”
Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden have talked a lot about bringing in good players with high integrity and character. The signing of Incognito seems to contradict that. Yet Mayock defends the Incognito signing.
“I think at the end of the day, you can’t have all Boy Scouts, and what you have to do is you have to do your homework on each individual case, and we’ve done our homework,” said Mayock. “We’ve talked to an awufl lot of people, we’ve brought him in. We talked to Richie. We told Richie what we’d expect, both on and off the field, and we expect him to adhere to that.”