Incognito's reputation precedes him

Updated: December 18, 2009, 10:25 AM ET
Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Even after he was criticized by a teammate on his new team, Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito isn't going to shy away from his aggressive style of play.

Not long after Buffalo claimed Incognito off waivers from St. Louis on Wednesday, injured Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell ripped Incognito in an unflattering message on his Twitter account, saying the signing was "the biggest disappointment of the year" and that "the guy's a bum."

Incognito shrugged off the comments on Thursday after his first day of practice in Buffalo.

"I have a reputation around the league for being a less than model citizen," he said. "Some guys on teams really dislike playing against me. So I can see where Kawika's coming from. I've probably done some cheap stuff to him in the past, but now we're members of the same team and working towards the same goal, and that's getting this club as many wins as possible. I knew something like that would pop up, but it's not a big deal."

Mitchell quickly wrote an apology after his initial blistering remarks.

"I said what I said bout iggy and it's over," he wrote. "Everything else will b handled n house. We've had our moments before when KC played SL. I was wrong 4 startin sumthin."

Incognito comes to the Bills after he was benched in the second half of the Rams' 47-7 loss to Tennessee Sunday following two personal foul penalties for head-butting.

Named the dirtiest player in the NFL earlier this year by The Sporting News, Incognito also was benched after drawing two personal foul penalties in a season-opening 28-0 loss at Seattle.

"You can call me what you want," Incognito said. "I'm a hard-nosed football player, and I bring my 'A' game every Sunday."

Incognito last year criticized the Rams' dwindling fan base, made an obscene gesture to a TV cameraman during practice and encouraged hecklers by cupping his hands to his ears while leaving the field after a loss.

He says it all stemmed from emotions that had been building since the Rams drafted him in 2005.

"I was just so frustrated with putting in so much hard work and pounding the details, and then just coming up loss after loss after loss," he said. "I mean, the last three years we won [six] games total. That's a lot to lose, and it takes its toll on you as an athlete more than I really imagined."

Still, Incognito, who started 44 games for the Rams, is considered a solid run-blocker, and should help shore up a depleted Buffalo offensive line. The Bills have struggled with consistency since abruptly releasing starting left tackle Langston Walker a week before the season opener at New England.

Three of the team's five offensive line starters have been placed on injured reserve, and backup Seth McKinney also went down with a season-ending injury. The Bills have used nearly 10 different line combinations.

"He's an aggressive football player, and we're trying to add as many good players as we can," Bills interim head coach Perry Fewell said about Incognito. "He doesn't lack for aggression. He's a solid offensive lineman and he's a big guy."

Notes: Terrell Owens missed Thursday's practice because of an illness. ... Starting offensive guard Kendall Simmons (shoulder) and starting left tackle Jonathan Scott (eye) also missed practice, which could pave the way for Incognito to play when the Bills (5-8) host New England (8-5).


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE