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2 posts from February 12, 2014

February 12, 2014

Incognito: Jonathan Martin pondered suicide

Richie Incognito seemed to be in a good mood when he greeted the day about an hour ago -- he's on the West Coast so maybe he slept in. He said on his twitter account, "What's up twitter!!! Happy Hump Day!!!"

And then Incognito went on a rant that will likely be deleted from the account soon but, alas, too late for it to have caught the notice of media and people following him.

It began with a jab at Jonathan Martin that, arguably, is true:

"I'm ready to move on with my life and career.  I've been dragged through the mud for months by my "best friend". #betrayed #railroaded"

Then this:

"Dear Jon Martin..... The truth is going to bury you and your entire "camp".  You could have told the truth the entire time."

Then this that brought Kenny Zuckerman, one of Martin's agents, into the mix:

"Jon Martin---you started all of this when Kenny Zuckerman released the VM to ESPN.  The same VM we joked about with @brianhartline"

Then Incognito went after Zuckerman full tilt:

"Kenny Zuckerman from Priority Sports.... What do you have to say for your actions? Why did you release the VM.  What was your goal ?"

Then Incognito presented his defense:

"I'm guilty of being a loyal friend and good teammate. I apologize for my poor language and rude remarks.  I've never denied it."

Then Incognito turned his sights back on Martin while sending a message to NFL Network reporter Albert Breer:

"the truth will set me free.  I can't say the same about Jon Martin.  The truth is what he's hiding from."

And then came the bombshell allegation that may cause Incognito some problems unless they are proveable:

"FACT: Jonathan Martin told me he thought about taking his own life in MAY 2013 b/c he wasn't playing well.  Told me he felt worthless."

The tweet that followed was Incognito shutting it down and encouraging media to call his lawyer.

But the deed was done.

And here's the thing: Incognito obviously has stuff he wants to get off his chest. All the previous well-wishing tweets toward Martin lose any meaning in light of this rant. Today's tweets give the previous tweets the feel of public relations work.

The problem for Incognito is his timing couldn't be worse. He must realize that the Ted Wells report is dropping soon. He must realize that he has basically grinned and beared it for nearly four months and he's near the end, near the finish line to his nightmare.

And he will soon be able to return to his career if he just keeps cool. But saying his former -- think that's a fair adjective -- friend pondered suicide because he wasn't playing well is probably not the direction a club would want him to go. And, by the way, is it true?

Why would Martin feel bad about how he's playing in May?

The 2012 season had been over for five months. The tough start to his career finally hit him then?

Today's outburst and allegations make Incognito seem angry (which he may have a right to be, but is the wrong message to send a potential employer.)

The point is Richie Incognito probably feels better about showing his feelings. But it probably wasn't wise.



Hickey and Philbin on the same page so far

If this morning is at all similar to the ones that dawned over the past six or seven days, new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey and coach Joe Philbin will spend it together.

The two men now atop the football side of the Dolphins organization have spent their mornings the past week or so watching tape together. They've spent it dissecting both college and pro prospects. They've been obviously prepping for the coming NFL combine. And they've been grinding on potential unrestricted free agents.

The idea behind this setting of four eyes on the same material at the same time?

Cohesion. Agreement. Collaboration.

In other words some of the stuff the Dolphins haven't always had the past few years.

I'm told Hickey and Philbin are on the same page so far. They buy into each other. (I'd make an innocuous Valentine's Day joke but in today's society it would be taken the wrong way.)

The coach and the GM are working to strengthen what was already a solid relationship even in its infancy. You see, in 2012 before Philbin became the Dolphins coach, he interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And Hickey was already working for the Bucs at that time.

And Hickey, according to a source, strongly backed Philbin's candidacy for the Tampa Bay job. Obviously, the job went to Greg Schiano. And Philbin landed the vacancy in Miami. But the bond was formed then.

And that, I'm also told by another source, is one reason Hickey was attractive to the Dolphins for the general manager job. Owner Stephen Ross, aware of internal friction within his organization, wanted to smooth things out going forward.

He doesn't want stories like the ones that leaked about the last couple of years repeating. You know the stories ...

... Dissent and disagreement between the coaching staff and personnel department about playing time for young players.

.... People not communicating with one another.

.... Stories praising or blaming either but never both the coach and GM for mistakes or good calls made on players. You'll remember the one where Philbin reportedly wanted to get rid of Richie Incognito after the golf course incident but couldn't -- a narrative I find hard to believe because Incognito not only wasn't cut then, he remained in 2013 and became a team leader under Philbin's watch.

... There's also a story out there that Philbin wasn't sold on last year's No. 3 overall selection Dion Jordan. Find that one also hard to believe.

The point is Ross doesn't want this kind of stuff getting out because, well, he doesn't want this kind of stuff being anywhere near true anymore.

With both Philbin and Hickey finding agreement on what players they want on the team it becomes impossible for one to disengage from the other if things go poorly. It also becomes impossible for someone to take credit to the exclusion of someone else.

One right, all right.

One wrong, all wrong.

(This, by the way, makes things easy for folks such as me and fans such as you. If there's success, we know it was fathered by both Hickey and Philbin. If things go wrong, neither can claim the failure is an orphan.)

It is in both Hickey and Philbin's best interests to find agreement and unity and be of one accord. It's good to find out that's exactly what they're already trying to do.