Richie Incognito's second interview in bullying investigation canceled
Tom Pelissero, USA TODAY Sports 10:56 a.m. EST December 11, 2013
DAVIE, Fla. – Suspended Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito's second interview with NFL-appointed investigator Ted Wells has been canceled as a key deadline looms for deciding his fate, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.
Incognito's representatives were informed the interview was off soon after teammate Jonathan Martin had his second meeting with Wells and his partners last week, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.
It wasn't immediately clear what that means for Incognito, 30, who recently left south Florida to have Thanksgiving at home with his family in Arizona and continue training in hopes of rejoining the Dolphins this season.
He cut a deal Nov. 21 to delay an expedited hearing for his grievance against the team and extend his suspension two weeks beyond the maximum allowed by the collective-bargaining agreement in exchange for reducing his financial loss to two game checks worth $470,588.
That extension expires Monday, one day after the Dolphins (7-6) host the New England Patriots, kicking off a stretch of three consecutive division games that will decide whether they end a four-year playoff drought.
Martin, 24, left the team Oct. 28 after a cafeteria prank and sought treatment for undisclosed mental health issues. Six days later, his representatives turned over evidence of alleged abuse to the Dolphins, who suspended Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team and asked Commissioner Roger Goodell for help with the issue.
The league hired Wells, a prominent criminal attorney, to lead an "independent" investigation of issues of workplace conduct with the Dolphins. Wells met with Martin for more than 7 hours on Nov. 15 and again Dec. 5, and with Incognito over two days Nov. 21 and 22.
The Dolphins officially ended Martin's season Nov. 30 by placing him on the non-football injury illness list. They are still paying his weekly salary of $35,733, according to NFL Players Association records obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
But the team hasn't ruled out a return for Incognito, at least not publicly. After reaching the deal Nov. 21, the Dolphins said in a statement Incognito was "cooperating fully" with the investigation. In his own statement, Incognito made clear he wanted to return.
"I will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation with a goal of resuming my career with the Miami Dolphins at the conclusion of this investigation," Incognito said in the statement. "I love my teammates and hope we can put this distraction behind us soon."
Wells was at the Dolphins' facility last month to interview team officials and players. More interviews with players were scheduled for this week, but several players told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday they hadn't been interviewed again.
Incognito's contract includes a base salary of $4 million this season and expires in March. Martin is under contract for two more years, with non-guaranteed base salaries of $824,933 in 2014 and $1,042,400 in 2015.