BUFFALO, N.Y. – Richie Incognito is abruptly calling it quits on an 11-season NFL career, three years after the Buffalo Bills gave the offensive guard a second chance at playing following his role in the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal.
The NFL Players Association on Tuesday night announced Incognito had contacted the union of his plans to retire. The announcement made on the NFLPA’s Twitter account , came after Incognito revealed his intention to retire through a series of tweets and comments made to several publications throughout the morning.
Without going into detail, the 34-year-old said he was “done” in a text to The Associated Press shortly after SportsIllustrated.com reported Incognito was “strongly considering retiring,” but would consider returning for one more season at the right price.
Incognito then told The Buffalo News he’s retiring because of health reasons.
“I’m done. That’s it,” Incognito told The News. “Went to the doctor. My liver and kidneys are shutting down. The stress is killing me.”
The Bills did not respond to a request seeking comment.
Incognito’s decision to retire comes a week after he fired his agent, David Dunn, in a post on Twitter. That decision came after Incognito accepted a pay cut by restructuring the final year of his contract.
Incognito initially backed his restructured contract by posting a note on Twitter saying he was “thrilled to be returning this season and fired up to get back to work with my Buffalo Bills brothers.”
Incognito is also the subject of an NFL investigation after Jacksonville defensive end Yannick Ngakoue accused the Bills player of making racist slurs during the Jaguars’ 10-3 win over Buffalo in an AFC wild-card playoff game in January.
The NFL has not announced whether it has completed its investigation. Ngakoue said he and Incognito cleared the air after they were AFC teammates at the Pro Bowl in January.
Incognito began Tuesday with a series of vague tweets, which began with “Good morning, FOOTBALL!” He then tweeted “Yes,” and “Wow,” before posting a note that read: “Big Ben.”
Later, he mentioned the Twitter accounts of the NFLPA and the union’s assistant executive director, George Atallah, in a note that read, “I’m done,” followed by a winking emoji with its tongue stuck out.
In its tweet Tuesday night, the NFLPA wished Incognito good luck in the next stage of his career.
Incognito is leaving football a little over three years since signing a one-year deal with Buffalo to resume his career after spending 18 months away from the game.
Incognito was suspended for the final eight games of the 2013 season, when the Dolphins were thrust into the national spotlight after offensive lineman Jonathan Martin abruptly quit the team amid accusations he was being bullied. An NFL investigation determined Incognito and two other Dolphins offensive linemen persistently harassed Martin.
In February, Martin was detained and questioned by Los Angeles police after posting a threatening note on his Instagram account. Martin’s post showed a shotgun and specifically mentioned Incognito, former teammate Mike Pouncey as well as a private Los Angeles prep school Martin once attended. Martin wrote suicide and revenge were the only options for a victim of bullying.
Incognito also played three-plus seasons in St. Louis, which drafted him in 2005. He played in college at Nebraska but left after being suspended, then transferred to Oregon though he never played for the Ducks.
Incognito earned three of his four Pro Bowl selections in Buffalo, and was considered among the Bills team leaders. He started all 36 games at left guard for the Bills, and was part of a line that led to Buffalo leading the NFL in yards rushing in both 2015 and `16.
The Bills’ offensive line is already undergoing a shuffle after center Eric Wood was diagnosed with a career-ending neck injury in January. Buffalo also traded starting left tackle Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati last month.
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