Media around the Indianapolis Colts have been whispering the name of Richie Incognito this week, and the team hasn’t ruled out the possibility. The offensive line is all that stands between Andrew Luck and repeated whacks with NFL-sized sledgehammers. Defenses have been going through this line like the Weasleys entering Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters.
Incognito is a competent (though controversial) player, a Pro Bowler, who might help contribute to Luck’s health and well-being, possibly for less than his usual price tag. But he’s available because he’s best known for bullying or harassing his former Miami Dolphins teammate, Jonathan Martin, who just so happened to be teammates with Luck, Coby Fleener and Griff Whalen at Stanford. That alone is likely enough to nix the deal.
The Colts always say they’re looking for “horseshoe guys” who believe in character, integrity and respect. But, at the same time, they seem to be digging reclamation projects of late. Boom Herron has some previous problems. Newly-drafted Jonathan Newsome had some suspension issues at Ohio State before transferring to Ball State. Chris Rainey was at camp a couple of days before being invited to leave (and going on a semi-entertaining Twitter rant). Not every reclamation project works out. But would Incognito be worth the risk?
The funny (or sad?) thing is, watching the game against the New Orleans Saints last weekend, I thought the line held pretty well. I’ve grown so desensitized that, unless Luck gets spiked like a volleyball, I consider it a successful down. Against the New York Giants, I forgot that they had free-agent rookie Jonotthan Harrison snapping the ball until he fired one straight at Luck’s hairline and reminded me to panic. Generally speaking, offensive linemen are seen and not heard, unless something is going wrong, or someone is Jeff Saturday.
Swimming through the various Incognito opinions today, the general consensus seems to be “please say no.” But there’s an overtone of “but…” to that comment, like Colts fans haven’t fully recovered from 2011 yet and aren’t willing to gamble with Luck’s health and happiness.
As fantasy drafts get rolling, everyone everywhere is saying, “I like Philip Rivers this year.” Philip Rivers this, Philip Rivers that, let me tell you what I love about Philip Rivers. I’m now 100 percent convinced that Philip Rivers is destined for disaster, just because the Philip Rivers people are over-excited. And then I realized that, though not necessarily in fantasy terms, the media has gone bonkers for Andrew Luck and his “breakout third year” too.
Last season when Vick Ballard got hurt, they traded for Trent Richardson, and at the time it seemed like either a cool, unconventional or panic move, and no one was sure which way it would go. This crossroads with Incognito feels kind of like that. My inclination is to say no, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’ll regret it.