Following the team's Tuesday announcement of the signing of Richie Incognito, General Manager Mike Mayock addressed the media prior to the Oakland Raiders fourth Organized Team Activity.
Here is the transcript of his comments.
Q: How does he [Incognito] fit in?
Mike Mayock: "Three years in a row he's a Pro Bowler in Buffalo, '15, '16 and '17. Whenever he's been focused on activities solely on the field, he's been fine. We've done a one-year, prove-it deal with him, and 'prove it' means both on and off the field. There are some expectations that he has to meet in both areas. He turns 36 in July. We think he's going to be a good football player and allow himself to compete for the left guard job, and just as importantly, he has to prove it off the field."
Q: What assurances did you get from him or his agent ahead of time that he would be able to prove all that?
Mayock: "We've done a lot of homework on him. I've known some of the line coaches that he's played for, several of his stops. I've called several people around the league. I feel comfortable that he's going to compete on the field, and I feel comfortable that he wants to compete off the field, and we're going to provide the infrastructure for him. At the end of the day, I think it's a two-way street. We have to help him help himself."
Q: Any concerns of him being suspended?
Mayock: "Yeah. He came in and worked out as you guys all know a couple of weeks ago. He did a great job at the workout. We've talked to the NFL. We've stayed in touch with them, and there's a chance there could be league discipline, don't know what it will be, but again, it's a one-year, minimum, prove-it deal, and we feel that he's [incentivized] probably to stay straight, and we can't control what the NFL will do."
Q: What did you take from his workout a couple weeks back?
Mayock: "He was coming off a great '17. Didn't play in '18, so I didn't know what to expect. I'll tell you quite honestly; we had about 10 people watch him workout, and he started with two circuits with Tom Cable, and usually you go with the circuit, and then you go into position drills. He got done with two circuits, and Tom Cable said, 'that's all I need to see.' Jon Gruden and I said, 'that's all we need to see.' He was in great shape. He looks like he's five to 10 years younger than he really is. Wonderful shape. He still has his quickness. He still has his footspeed. At the end of the day, we won't know really until training camp what we have in him. He's going to have an opportunity to compete."
Q: Is there a concern at all bringing in a guy with his history?
Mayock: "It's a fair question. I've talked a lot about foundation – Jon and I have both talked a lot about foundation – I think we've reinforced that with our draft, and I think at the end of the day, you can't have all boy scouts, and what you have to do is you have to do your homework on each individual case, and we've done our homework. We've talked to an awful lot of people, we've brought him in. We talked to Richie. We told Richie what we'd expect, both on and off the field, and we expect him to adhere to that. We're going to meet with our Player Engagement people after practice. We've got our clinician coming in tomorrow, and I'm not going to go into any more of that, other than to say the infrastructure will be here for him to use."
Q: Is there a difference between a guy with a proven track record in the NFL as opposed to a guy you're going to draft and build with?
Mayock: "Yeah. Let's be honest. He's going to turn 36 in July. He plays a position that right now we would like to have some competition at, so we feel like it's a win-win for both sides."
Q: Do you think this will be good for Kolton [Miller]?
Mayock: "The bottom line is we want Kolton to have somebody next to him that he feels comfortable with. I don't know how the competition is going to play out. We still have Denzelle Good, who we believe in, and played well at the end of last year."
Q: What's the importance of mental health as it relates to Richie and the team?
Mayock: "Like I said a moment ago, we've got a plan. He's going to stay to that plan. He agreed a couple of weeks ago. We talked about the infrastructure he would need. He was quite honest with me. We had a one-on-one meeting with the door closed where I asked him specifically what he would need, not only to be a good football player, but to be a really good human being, and we went through a lot more of that than we did the football. We're going to meet after practice again. We're going to go through all that. As I mentioned, tomorrow he's going to meet with our clinician, and we're going to do our best to best to help him off the field."
Q: Who was pounding the table for Richie?
Mayock: "I think we all are. I mentioned earlier, whenever you have a case like this, I think it's important to have the conversation in the building. Paul Guenther jumped up on the table because of his relationship with Vontaze [Burfict], and we all respected that. Paul took ownership of that and took ownership of the responsibility of Vontaze both on and off the field. We've talked a lot about Richie, and we're all going to take ownership with Richie. And I think this is situation where Jon and I both agree that with a guy this age on a one-year, prove-it deal, we're all in."
Q: What are the on-field expectations for him?
Mayock: "Based on his workout, it was a literally a two to three-minute workout. He was in great shape. He had foot quickness. We expect him to come in and compete. We would not be bringing him in now unless we thought he could come in and compete Day 1, so that's the expectation."