Chargers not focused on Dolphins' turmoil

November, 14, 2013
11/14/13
9:25
AM ET
SAN DIEGO -- Ronnie Brown played the 2010 season with Richie Incognito during his six-year tenure with the Miami Dolphins.

The two also worked out during the offseason in Arizona. What Brown remembers is a friend who worked and played hard, not the loud-talking, intimidating figure accused of bullying fellow teammate Jonathan Martin and has been suspended by the Dolphins, San Diego's opponent this weekend.

“From a personal standpoint, he never did anything disrespectful,” Brown said. “He’s a different guy. He enjoys life. He plays a lot. So I think sometimes people kind of take it out of context.

“Sometimes you form a persona that people outside kind of view as, so any little thing gets escalated, so you have to be kind of careful sometimes. And I think that’s one of those situations.”

Incognito has been suspended indefinitely following allegations of harassment and misconduct toward teammate Martin, a second-year offensive lineman drafted out of Stanford. The Dolphins (4-5) have lost five of their past six games, dealing with a major distraction since Martin left the team on Oct. 28 following a lunchroom incident.

San Diego head coach Mike McCoy said the turmoil in Miami will not have an effect on how his team approaches the game.

“The most important thing is it’s about us,” McCoy said. "That’s every week. We have to do a better job first. We can’t worry about issues. No one is going to feel sorry for anyone on Sundays. That’s the way we are going to approach it, and we are going to go out there and do the best job we can to get a win this weekend and take care of our side of the ball No. 1.”

Miami Dolphins defensive back Jimmy Wilson put on a good front when asked if he believes the Incognito-Martin situation has affected his team’s locker room. But realistically, a situation that created so much of a national stir has to affect a team’s performance on the field.

“I invite everybody in the whole world to come into this locker room and see what type of men we got in here, what type of coaches that we have,” Wilson said on a conference call with San Diego-area reporters this week. “This is not a bad locker room. All of us are funny guys, laugh-and-joke-a lot guys. We’re about our business, and we want to be a great team.

“Everybody thinks we have a bad coach in here, but it’s a joke. We’re all a bunch of young guys who like to have a good time.”

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin answered a few questions from reporters on the issue before saying that he would not answer any more questions until a league review on the matter is complete.

“It’s all about playing as well as you can at one particular game -- putting your focus and your concentration and your energy into the opponent that you have next,” Philbin said. “That’s all you control at the present time.”

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers said that sometimes issues that appear to be distractions to team from the outside are not an issue inside a locker room.

“I can’t speak on this particular distraction that the Dolphins are dealing with, but there are certain things that are perceived as distractions from the outside that are really a nonissue on the inside,” Rivers said. “Obviously, the magnitude of what that is and how big of a deal it is -- that’s different in every circumstance. When I think of some so-called distractions with us over the years, they really never were inside that locker room or on the practice field.”

And as far as the mood inside San Diego’s locker room, Rivers says the culture and relationships remain positive.

“I think it’s a close group,” he said. It’s a friendly group. When I say friendly I mean from corner to corner. It’s not a very cliquish group in the sense of you don’t really see the packs.

“Sure you hang out with your group, understand that, but just in general you’ll see [Nick] Hardwick chatting it up with the defensive backs. It’s a very friendly, open group. I can’t imagine one guy in the locker room thinking the team doesn’t have a healthy working environment. They enjoy coming here day to day.”

Eric D. Williams

ESPN San Diego Chargers reporter

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