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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
    RamWraith is offline Registered User
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    Incognito wonders when he'll get to play

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Tuesday, Sep. 20 2005

    The Rams' game Sunday against Arizona was supposed to be a homecoming for
    rookie offensive lineman Richie Incognito. His family has lived in Glendale, a
    northwest suburb of Phoenix, since Richie was in sixth grade.

    But the only weekend game involving the Incognito family was younger brother
    Derek's Pop Warner football debut Saturday for the Deer Valley Barracudas.
    Incognito, a third-round draft pick in April, remains unsigned. He attended
    Sunday's 17-12 Rams victory at Sun Devil Stadium, but as a spectator.

    "It's a rare situation," Incognito said. "But I've been in a lot of odd
    situations in my life. So it's one of many for me."

    Several on-the-field and off-the-field incidents - including fights and
    suspensions - derailed Incognito's college football career. He last played at
    the University of Nebraska in 2003. Incognito, now 22, says he's changing.

    "Stuff happens," Incognito said. "Everyone goes through young, wild days.
    Definitely, I've had my days. But days like that are numbered. You can't go on
    like that forever. I want to live a long life. And you've got to just put those
    days behind you."

    Maybe those experiences prepared Incognito for his current situation. Maybe
    not. In any event, he remains the only player unsigned in the entire 2005
    draft.

    The Rams and Incognito remain apart on contract terms, and the basic dynamics
    of the dispute have remained the same for weeks:

    The Rams are offering Incognito a signing bonus that's $117,000 less than the
    market value on a three-year deal for a player taken in his slot (81st
    overall).

    Incognito and his agent (Jack Scharf) want a market deal. The Rams say that's
    impossible because they don't have enough money left in their rookie cap to do
    so.

    Incognito and Scharf say the Rams could make up the difference with a one-time
    incentive tied to playing time later in the contract.

    As a matter of team policy, the Rams say they don't include such features in
    contracts for non-first-rounders.

    So Incognito remains in Phoenix, working out, rehabbing from kneecap surgery
    and waiting. He met with the Post-Dispatch Saturday at the Rams' team hotel in
    Phoenix.

    "It's given me a good insight into this business," Incognito said. "This isn't
    college, where it's, 'OK, we want you to come play. Here's your room and
    board.' This is just business. They want something from me. Obviously, I want
    something in return. That's kind of where we're at."

    Incognito attended the Rams' minicamps and organized team activities in the
    spring, even though he couldn't participate because of the surgery. He has been
    living with his parents since July. He works out and rehabs nearly every
    weekday at the Athletes Performance Institute in the Phoenix area.

    "Basically, I get a two-hour lift in at 10 o'clock, then I come back at 1
    o'clock and rehab about two-three hours," Incognito said.

    He plays golf. He keeps up on the Rams by reading the Internet. And until
    Sunday, when he sat in the stands, he had watched every Rams preseason contest
    plus their regular-season opener on television.

    "I'm getting pretty darn good at golf," Incognito says.

    But his parents are getting "pretty darn" frustrated.

    "It's real frustrating for them," Incognito said. "For the most part, they
    don't understand what's going on. Why I haven't been offered a fair deal. The
    salary cap, and all that. They bug my agents. They bug me. After awhile, you
    just run out of answers."

    The waiting game could be near an end. Incognito and his physical therapist
    from Athletes Performance, Darcy Norman, met with team doctor Matt Matava and
    head athletic trainer Jim Anderson of the Rams on Saturday at the Phoenix
    hotel. Matava and Anderson checked out the knee.

    Scharf, the agent, spoke Monday with Rams president of football operations Jay
    Zygmunt, and the two are scheduled to talk again today.

    "It's been at a standstill," Incognito said. "So this is some progress. And any
    progress right now is positive. Now that they've checked me out, and they see
    that I'm all right, I think the ball's in their court. I want to get something
    done as soon as possible. I really just want to get back out there."

    If Incognito signed, he would be placed on the physically unable to perform
    list. Under that designation, he could continue his rehab through Week 6 of the
    NFL season (mid-October), and then would have a three-week window to practice
    with the team. After that - by early November - the Rams would have the option
    of placing him on the active roster, or putting him on the injured reserve list
    for the rest of the season.

    "I'm working hard, been busting my butt down here," Incognito said. "It's
    getting close to where I'm full go, 100 percent. I'm real excited. I'll be able
    to play football in the next six to eight weeks."

    But only if he has a contract.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Incognito wonders when he'll get to play

    Sounds pretty positive to me. At least Scharf and Zygmunt are talking, that's a good thing. Normally, I tend to blame holdouts on the player, but with this situation I think I have to lean more towards putting it on the shoulders of the Rams. If they're only $100k apart because of the rookie cap AND that can be solved by an incentive clause, then why not get it done?
    As a matter of team policy, the Rams say they don't include such features in
    contracts for non-first-rounders.
    Well, that's inexcusable. You could get him signed, but you won't because of "team policy". That's garbage, add the incentive, get him signed and on the roster.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #3
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    adarian_too is offline Registered User
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    Re: Incognito wonders when he'll get to play

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    If they're only $100k apart because of the rookie cap AND that can be solved by an incentive clause, then why not get it done? Well, that's inexcusable. You could get him signed, but you won't because of "team policy". That's garbage, add the incentive, get him signed and on the roster.
    It is stories like this that help to undermine one's complete confidence in the FO. Isn't that what capologists are suppose to be doing - keeping track of the market and being creative with what's available? You drafted him, you saw something in him, get something done to vindicate your faith.

    As an aside, is it coincidence that Samir acted like an immature frat rat, his duites, and this pouty position relative to contract negotiations? OK, probably.

    But then again, wait a minute you back-stabbing non-Martz supporter, if you really had M & M's back and not whats-his-names throat wouldn't this deal be done by now? Just asking.

  4. #4
    evil disco man's Avatar
    evil disco man is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    Re: Incognito wonders when he'll get to play

    Agreed 100% on this side. Would the Rams rather give him the $100,000+ incentive or let him re-enter the draft? He has first-round talent anyway, so as long as he gets on the field he'll already live up to the value - if he doesn't, nothing is paid out. I don't see the problem. The answer is obvious, and they'd better get him signed.

  5. #5
    ReedleyRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Incognito wonders when he'll get to play

    Do the best to get him signed and on the field. The Rams will get all the money back when we win from ticket and merchandising sales. What's the problem?? Afraid to set a president?

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