Richie Incognito is almost two years removed from his last game played in Miami. Sunday will be his first time in an NFL uniform at Sun Life stadium and he'll be facing the team that brought what many thought would be a premature end to his professional career. That has obviously not proven to be the case as Incognito was given a second chance under Rex Ryan in Buffalo. But is Incognito thinking payback?
The veteran guard doesn't deny there could be a little extra incentive for him to play well on Sunday again
st the Dolphins, but that added motivation isn't coming from a bad place.
"I don't think it's personal," said Incognito. "It's one of those things in professional sports where you cross paths with one of your old teams and you want to give it to them. You want to play well and you want to come away with a win.
"I think I'm personally motivated for every single game I play in. I'm juiced up and amped up for every single game. This one just has a little more meaning kind of and there are obviously bigger things at play here, but for me it's about focusing and playing physical and playing tough football."
Over the first two games of the season Incognito has arguably been the team's most consistent lineman. Rex Ryan has spoken time and again of how impressed he is with Incognito's dedication to his craft.
Incognito is not only one of Buffalo's most effective linemen, he's also taken on a leadership role being a veteran with a relatively young group up front.
"That's just something that comes with the territory," he said. "Being around and playing so much ball I've really just kind of grown into a leader and just trying to help the young guys as much as possible. Trying to give them as much information as I can to help them be successful."
Despite the loss last Sunday to New England, Buffalo's run game was improved. Incognito hopes it's something the offense can hang their hat on this week in Miami, but he knows the caliber of the Dolphins defensive front is impressive.
"I've got some insider tips on dealing with a couple of those guys, but they're a talented group," said Incognito. "Cam Wake is one of the best pass rushers in the league. They've got Olivier Vernon over there, who I think is a very good, solid ball player. They've got (Ndamukong) Suh who is obviously All-World. He's a great ball player. Earl Mitchell has been playing really well for them. They've definitely got some talent so it's going to be a tall order to go down there and get a win."
While Incognito feels he has successfully grown from the bullying incident, which almost cost him his career, he understands that it will follow him for some time.
"I've been through a lot since I've been down there. There has been a lot of time taken for personal growth and the maturation process. Just kind of figuring out who I am and what I want out of my career and what I want out of life," he said. "I would hope that we can move past all this, but I definitely understand that's it's going to be prevalent probably through the end of this year, and probably the Monday Night Football guys will be bringing it up five years from now, so we'll see."
His only focus at this point is helping a Buffalo offense move the football consistently and notch a critical division win on Sunday after dropping an eight-point decision to New England last week.
"The biggest thing is how we respond," he said. "It's going to be a tall order for us to come back this week and prepare and prepare well enough to win on Sunday. I think we've got the right guys and I think we've got the right mindset to come out here and really get a good week of preparation and go down and put on a good show in Miami."