With the recently signed Kendall Simmons nursing a shoulder injury and Christian Gaddis the only other reserve interior lineman, the Bills sought additional offensive line help. The Bills claimed veteran offensive linemen Richie Incognito off waivers Wednesday. After passing a physical Thursday morning he signed a contract with the club.
"He's a good football player," said interim head coach Perry Fewell. "You don't have an opportunity to get a good football player like that this late in the season. This gives us an opportunity to improve our offensive line and improve our football team we think. So we jumped at that opportunity."
"I'm real excited," said Incognito following his first practice with his new teammates Thursday. "I'm real excited to just jump in feet first and just go at it. I think the best thing for me to do is go out there and play Sunday. I'm excited for the opportunity. I feel welcome here. Not that I didn't feel welcomed in St. Louis - it's just nice to be appreciated and to be pushed to play better and better each week."
Incognito (6'3" 324) is a former third-round pick of the St. Louis Rams (2005) and has spent his entire five-year NFL career with the NFC club. Known as a fiery player, Incognito has 44 career starts, most of which have come at the guard position.
"I like his intensity," said Fewell. "We're trying to add as many good football players as we can and this is an opportunity for us to get a good look at him."
The new arrival stepped right in with the first unit on Thursday and got reps at right guard in place of the injured Kendall Simmons, who is nursing a shoulder injury.
"I'm really learning from the guys around me to get me through these next couple of practices and lead up to the game and get prepared," said Incognito. "It went well. Not that many mental errors. Really, just getting the communication opened up between me, the center and right tackle. Geoff (Hangartner) is a good communicator and (Kirk) Chambers is really smart."
Much like Simmons did a month ago, Incognito appears to have a chance to start right away this Sunday against New England should Simmons shoulder injury keep him sidelined.
Incognito's departure from St. Louis was brought on by a pair of personal foul penalties against Tennessee last week. It was the second time the lineman had been flagged in such a fashion this season and Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo ultimately waived the lineman Tuesday. Incognito chalks up his most recent actions to getting fed up with losing.
"I think I was just so frustrated with putting in so much hard work and pounding the details and then just coming up loss after loss after loss after loss after loss," he said. "I mean, the last three years we won five games total. That's a lot to lose and it takes its toll on you as an athlete more than I really imagined. And now it's good to take a step back, get out of the situation and come here with a clean slate and play ball. I'm going to be a lot less selfish with the penalties and just the acting out."
Fewell indicated that Incognito does have a clean slate with the Bills and that the past is the past. And despite Incognito's pledge to keep the penalties to a minimum he does not intend to change the intensity with which he plays.
"I'm going to continue playing my game, playing the way I play," he said. "I'm a hard-nosed football player. I bring my 'A' game every Sunday."
To make room for Incognito on the roster the Bills waived tight end Joe Klopfenstein. Incognito will wear jersey number 62.