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Raider Richie Incognito on drugs, booze, fights and ‘crazy stuff’

In a revelatory — and disturbing — new TV interview, controversial Raiders offensive lineman Richie Incognito insists that he’s not a “ticking time bomb.”

“I hope not. I think history will suggest that I am,” Incognito tells reporter Bernie Goldberg during a segment for “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” that airs on Tuesday (10 p.m., HBO). “But I really am working hard to kind of differentiate from that person and really not make the same mistakes that I have made before to put me in those situations.”

Incognito, who makes his on-field debut with the Raiders this weekend after being suspended for two games, has a well-documented checkered past. He was kicked out of two college programs — Nebraska and Oregon — and his turbulent NFL career is tainted by explosive temper tantrums, wild mood swings and fights with his own teammates.

In 2013, as a member of the Miami Dolphins, he was suspended after being accused of bullying teammate Jonathan Martin.

The Raiders are his fifth team in 10 years.

Incognito’s off-field behavior has been even more troubling, marked by multiple arrests, rampant substance abuse and bizarre, occasionally violent, behavior. Last summer he was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona for allegedly threatening to shoot employees of a mortuary while making funeral arrangements for his father. Witnesses also said he was punching caskets and demanding that his father’s head be cut off for “research purposes.”

That incident led to the two-game suspension for being in violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

During the 15 1/2-minute  “Real Sports” segment Incognito’s lengthy rap sheet is chronicled in often chilling detail via police video and 9-1-1 recordings. In the opening scene, Incognito is shown handcuffed in the back of a police car after being arrested for an altercation at a Florida fitness center. Initially, he winks and smiles at the camera, but then sobs as he addresses what could be the end of his NFL career.

“They said ‘retire’ and I said f— you, I’ll never retire,” he says on the tape, before switching gears and stating:

“I’m fine with it. My heart fell out of the game last year. I don’t want to go anymore. I don’t want to have to go to Buffalo. I don’t want to have to go to St. Louis. I don’t want to have to come here. I played for a long time. I have all my money. I have all my f—ing money and I don’t want to f—ing play … They want to bring me to Seattle. They want to bring me to D.C. They want to bring me to Minnesota. I’ll f—ing talk to all these teams. I don’t want to f—ing go! All right, I’ll go.”

According to the police report following that incident, Incognito claimed to be running a “national security agency class level three.”

In the interview with Goldberg, Incognito, 36, blamed the incident on drug and alcohol abuse and a lack of sleep.

“Yeah. Spun out, paranoia to the Nth degree,” he says. “I had not been taking care of myself for so long. You’re talking lack of sleep, not eating, marijuana — drinking, heavily … days, and days, and weeks on weeks on end, and that is the product you get. You get a highly paranoid, very large individual talking a bunch of nonsense.”

Here is some of what Incognito says about other transgressions over the years:

On the bullying claims made by Martin: “It was obviously something I regret. It’s the one line I can’t cross. Sometimes you say the worst things to the people closest to you, but I definitely don’t feel that that makes me a racist person. … Hey, this is guy talk, these are two alpha males talkin’ to each other. Was some bad s— said? Absolutely. But was this a case of bullying? Absolutely not.”

On taking a baseball bat to his Ferrari after the bullying fallout: “My father had made a comment, like, ‘I hope you enjoy that brand new Ferrari, ass—-.’ And I was like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna take the Ferrari out and beat the s— out of it.’”

On spitting at an opposing player during a college game: “That was a young, dumb mistake. That’s a 19-year-old kid trying to impose his will on some other player out there and slipped up.”

His decision to “retire” after the 2017 season with the Buffalo Bills: “I’d fallen into a trap of drinking and drugging again … I was showing up to team functions high. I was not as motivated. I was overweight. A lot of red flags had went up. … They asked for me to take a pay cut. … I said, ‘That’s it, I’m retiring, I’m outta here. I’m done. I’m moving on.’”

On the funeral home incident: “It was an emotional day for myself. And I showed up at the funeral home and I wasn’t in my best health. … I thought I was acting normal. (A couple of) days not sleeping, then the heavy marijuana use, plus the drinking, all that is a recipe for disaster for a person like myself.”

Although the Raiders were featured this summer on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” Incognito was rarely seen during that series. So this marks his first extensive TV interview since joining the Raiders. During the sit-down session with Goldberg, he’s calm, candid and steady throughout. (Coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock are not interviewed).

Reflecting on his fresh start with the Raiders, Incognito says, “There’s a lot of crazy stuff in my past. And I wanted to come in here and show the world, ‘Hey, listen, I’m OK.’ “I’m excited about playing for the Oakland Raiders. And I’m ready to learn from where I’ve been and move forward.”


Source: East Bay Raider Richie Incognito on drugs, booze, fights and ‘crazy stuff’

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