Thursday, November 7, 2013
Eric Wood adds insight on Incognito
By Mike Rodak
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The situation regarding suspended Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito seemingly changes by the hour, as new developments and viewpoints stream in on the topic.
On Wednesday, more reaction came from the Buffalo Bills locker room, specifically from team captain Eric Wood. In addition to being represented by the same agent, David Dunn, Wood and Incognito were teammates on the Bills in 2009.
Saying he's been in communication with "everybody" about the incident, Wood stepped cautiously around the subject Wednesday.
"Richie is by no means innocent, but there's usually two sides to stories and without knowing everything, I don't want to get on Richie too hard for what happened," he said. "I think the language was a terrible misjudgment. In today's society you just can't use racial language; that's just how it is. Whether they get along really well and they felt comfortable with that, you still can't use it. I think that's kind of like, the voicemail that was released, I think that was the biggest issue of it all."
Wood suggested that Jonathan Martin's agent may be the source of details that emerged about Incognito's involvement.
"Sometimes, from what it appears, the agents got involved. Jonathan was with his family for a few days. Nothing came out, and then all of the sudden the agent released stuff about Richie," Wood said. "I don't know if he's trying to defend his client and maybe throw someone under the bus at the expense of it, but I don't know. I think there's a lot more to the story than meets the eye."
Although teammates for just one season, Wood said he and Incognito remain friends and see each other at events, including the Super Bowl.
"He gets on me. I get on him. But I can take it. I have respect for Richie, he has respect for me," Wood said. "It sounds really weird to outside people, but it's part of the culture. Guys give people a hard time. Especially O-lines that are really close. But you really have to get a feel for guys. As a leader of a football team especially, just a case of misjudgment I believe."
Wood further stressed that Incognito may be misunderstood.
"I don't know what would have provoked him. I'm assuming he felt some back-and-forth banter, which is kind of how he produces his humor. He gets on guys and guys get on him back. He can take it. He's by no means perfect and guys give him a hard time, too," Wood said. "But you have to have respect for a guy, and when a guy is kind of down, which I'm assuming [Martin] was, you have to know when to pull off, and I think he just used some really bad misjudgment."
As far as his own experience, Wood said he has been on the receiving end of friendly banter.
"Guys got on me for a lot of meals. They get on me about my hair. But I'm fine with that. I just kind of roll it off," he said. "Outside the building we all hung out and we all got along. But there's different cases where guys can take it differently. As far as the meals they've gotten me for, I've enjoyed my fair share of meals. And they got me good because I was a first-rounder. First-rounders generally stick around for a while. And they know that you're going to get it back."
Draft status plays into how veterans treat "rookie nights," according to Wood.
"We've had a lot of undrafted offensive linemen who make the team and they might pick up breakfast on a Saturday, but they're not getting the big-time rookie nights that you hear about a Dez Bryant or somebody else getting," he said.