Friday, November 8, 2013
Remaining Rams got along with Incognito
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- There aren't many St. Louis Rams still with the franchise from the time offensive lineman Richie Incognito was with the team. There are three, to be exact.
But linebacker Will Witherspoon, end Chris Long and linebacker James Laurinaitis never had any problems with Incognito in their time together in St. Louis and certainly had no reason to categorize him as a bully.
Incognito, of course, has come under fire in Miami for racially insensitive comments and alleged bullying tactics against tackle Jonathan Martin. Martin has since left the team and the situation seems to come with new revelations by the day.
None of the Rams remaining on the roster (or back on it, in Witherspoon's case) are too keen on what's come out about Incognito in recent day, but they also had no qualms with him as a teammate, either.
Long played with Incognito for nearly two full seasons after coming to the Rams in the 2008 NFL draft.
"Richie was a great teammate," Long said. "I really enjoyed having Richie on the team. Obviously he had the racially insensitive language, and it’s a line you don’t cross. I never heard him say anything like that here. But Richie was really well liked by everybody here."
Witherspoon and Incognito were friends during their overlap in St. Louis, playing together from 2006 through the first five games of 2009 before the Rams traded him to Philadelphia. The veteran linebacker said he was a bit surprised by the things coming out of Miami, particularly when it comes to the racial side of the equation.
"When it comes to anything that was said racially, that’s totally unacceptable," Witherspoon said. "Richie and I have known each other for a long time, I have been out with him before. I don’t think he’s actually a racist by any means but I think he took something to the extreme that he shouldn’t have."
Laurinaitis had the shortest window to get to know Incognito as he entered the league as a second-round draft pick in 2009. The two didn't even get a full season together before the Rams released Incognito.
In that short span, Laurinaitis also had no issues with Incognito, even though Laurinaitis was a rookie in their time together. Laurinaitis noted he has never received a voice mail from Incognito of any type.
“I never had any problems with Richie,” Laurinaitis said. “I know nothing of what’s going on down there. I haven’t talked to him since he left here.”
Offensive tackle Jake Long and defensive tackle Kendall Langford are current Rams who spent time with Incognito in Miami. Long obviously might have the best insight into how things were with Martin and Incognito last year, but to this point has declined comment on the situation.