Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- S

Assessing the safety position injuries from the 2017 season and personnel expectations going forward.

We are 3 weeks away from the opening of the 2018 NFL season with the beginning of training camp! Here at Banged Up Bills, I have been trying to stay cool and sane despite the excessive heat and lack of football. Today’s post will finish up the injuries on the defensive side of the ball at the safety position. The secondary overall was an incredibly strong position for the Bills this past season and going into the 2018 season, this does not appear to change.

Stepping up first for review is S Jordan Poyer. The transplant from Cleveland spent the first 4 seasons mostly with Cleveland along with a cup of coffee in Philadelphia before signing a free agent deal with the Bills in 2017. He rewarded the Bills handsomely with 5 interceptions with one TD, one fumble recovery, 2 sacks along with 95 total tackles 63 solo and 32 assisted. These are fantastic stats for a player that Cleveland did not want back. In addition to his versatile abilities on the field, Poyer was able to stay relatively healthy, appearing in 15 games, missing only the Raiders game with a knee injury. He was incredibly durable this season despite the high injury risks that the position comes with. As Poyer is a veteran, he understands how to take care of his body and prepare for each game. Expect another standout year from Poyer!

Next up is S Micah Hyde who was also a castoff from the Green Bay Packers after 4 years. The dynamic play maker appeared in all 16 games producing 5 interceptions along with 82 total tackles, 65 solo and 17 assisted. The 5th year veteran has also been incredibly durable during his time in the league, rarely missing any games which demonstrate why this coaching staff values Hyde so highly. Despite Hyde not missing any time, he also dealt with several minor knee injuries that limited his play at times but did not signify any longer term issues. Similar to Poyer, expect Hyde to continue to prepare like a veteran and come ready to play every week.

Another player who saw time at the safety position this year was S Shamarko Thomas. The 5th year veteran saw action in 12 games but did not record any defensive statistics, making the most of his playing time on special teams. As he did not see many defensive snaps, he was able to avoid injury. Thomas finds himself a free agent going into the 2018 season and could be a candidate to come back at a veteran minimum but that is most likely the reason he was not retained as he became cost prohibitive.

Rounding out players who saw playing time at safety is S Colt Anderson. The oft-injured safety was used more frequently as a special teams ace in years past but his time in Buffalo was forgettable. In 2 years, he appeared in 7 games and not recording any defensive statistics. He had dealt with hand, foot, and forearm injury which cost him significant playing time. This past year, a broken forearm cost him 11 games and when he finally returned, was largely ineffective. As one may guess, he was not re-signed to the team going into the 2018 season. After the multitude of injuries over his career, he may see fit to hang it up rather than try to find another team due to his lack of availability. I do not even envision him coming back as a camp body in any fashion. My final thought on Anderson, he was a holdover from the Rex Ryan staff, I do not understand what the Bills saw in him as he was unable to stay healthy.

As for new personnel, there are many new faces coming into the secondary with the addition of S Dean Marlowe, S Kelcie McCray, S LJ McCray via the practice squad this past season. In addition, S Rafael Bush was brought in via free agency; a more detailed report can be found here. Finally, the Bills brought in S Siran Neal via a 5th round pick who could project to be a top backup with a strong training camp performance.

While this group is veteran heavy with Poyer and Hyde, they will need Bush and Neal to step up and provide effective depth as it is difficult to totally avoid injuries. With strong training camps, Marlowe, McCray & McCray can step up and add another dimension to the already strong unit. This is a position group I do not worry about due to the talent level, but could drastically change with a serious injury.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for training camp content, injury reviews, and any other breaking news to come out of One Bills Drive. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. Feel free to contact me with any questions or content you would like to see. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- CB

Assessing the injuries sustained at the cornerback position from the 2017 season.

Continuing in our off-season reporting is positional reporting at Banged Up Bills.. Today’s post addresses the cornerback position which was a bright spot this season after being outright dreadful in 2016. The cornerback position dealt with a variety of injuries that at times cost the Bills crucial games that thankfully did not cause the Bills to miss the playoffs. However, Brandon Beane realized that even though this unit was superb, there is still room for improvement going into the 2018 season.

First up is CB E.J. Gaines. The 4th year veteran came to Buffalo in a trade that included WR Sammy Watkins that worked out favorably for the Bills. Stat wise, Gaines was able to haul in one interception, 3 forced fumbles and 59 total tackles with 48 solo and 11 assisted. There was a gigantic difference between when Gaines was on the field and when he wasn’t. In games that Gaines participated in, they were 8-3, in games he missed they were 1-4 which indicated how valuable he was. However, Gaines suffered several injuries which cost him playing time during several key points during the season. He suffered a shoulder injury in the win over Atlanta that forced him to miss the Cincinnati game which was a loss. Immediately after this injury, Gaines suffered a groin injury that did not appear to be serious, but possibly led into a hamstring injury that cost him 3 games in which the Bills went 1-2. Gaines returned to health, playing in 5 straight games before injuring his knee during the first Miami game which cost him a game against New England. Prior to this season, Gaines had been fairly durable, only suffering a Lisfranc injury which cost him the 2015 season. His injuries likely stemmed from his hard-hitting reckless play. After this injury filled season, the Bills elected not to re-sign Gaines, letting him walk in free agency and taking a rather questionable one year, $4 million with the Cleveland Browns. For a player that was due a potentially big contract with limited availability, the Bills were smart to move on from Gaines despite his stellar play.

Next up is CB Leonard Johnson. The 6th year back saw time in 15 games and starting 7. Johnson managed to stay relatively healthy this season, only missing one game due to a knee injury in the loss in the first New England game. Otherwise, he suffered a quadriceps injury in the season opener and a minor hamstring injury in the loss to Cincinnati in which he did not miss any time. Johnson had been pretty healthy up to this season, only suffering a torn Achilles during his time in Carolina but was able to recover to previous form. Stat wise, he accumulated one forced fumble with one fumble recovery to go along with 51 tackles, 40 solo and 11 assisted. As with Gaines, the Bills elected not to re-sign Johnson as his veteran status most likely became cost prohibitive.

CB Shareece Wright continues the Bills exodus of cornerbacks from the 2017 season. The 7th year back saw playing time in 12 games, starting 5 with stats of one interception, one forced fumble with 2 fumble recoveries to go along with 42 tackles, 35 solo and 7 assisted. Wright suffered a minor back injury in the win over Atlanta but suffered a concussion during the second New England loss which costed him the season finale win over Miami and the playoffs. As he is no longer on this roster for what I assume are similar reasons as Johnson, I do not see him coming back unless there are several injuries which would require him to be re-signed as a depth player.

One of the true bright spots on this 2017 Buffalo Bills roster was CB Tre’Davious White. The rookie from LSU quickly became a fan favorite and helped re-establish the secondary with incredible plays that appeared to allow people to forget he was only a rookie. Numbers wise, he had 4 interceptions, one forced fumble with 2 fumble recoveries with one returned for a TD and 69 total tackles, 53 solo with 16 assists. White stayed injury free all season with the exception of a concussion from Rob Gronkowski. If you recall, Gronk gave White the People’s Elbow after a clearly dead play on the sidelines. White thankfully did not miss time, but repeated hits to the head can have a detrimental effect on a players health later in his career. As White begins his second season, look for him to hopefully stay healthy and continue to produce at a high level to establish himself as one of the best in the league at his position.

Finally, CB Lafayette Pitts rounds out players that suited up at the CB position for the Bills this season. The 2nd year pro joined Buffalo in late October after spending time with Jacksonville earlier in the season. During his time in Buffalo, Pitts only recorded one tackle and one assist on defense with most of his playing time coming on special teams. Despite the lack of stats, the Bills re-signed Pitts to a one year contract in hopes that he adds to the depth going forward.

The Bills position at cornerback appears to be solidified with CB Tre’Davious White manning one side and CB Vontae Davis manning the other. There are questions regarding Davis going into the 2018 season after he missed most of 2017 with a sports hernia that eventually required surgery. As indicated in the previous article, most players sustaining his type of injury are able to return to playing in the NFL without complications. These two players are formidable in their own right and together should really improve the quality of play at the position. Davis is an upgrade from Gaines at the position, but time will tell if the production matches.

Rounding out the rest of the cornerbacks on the roster include CB Levi Wallace, CB Phillip Gaines, CB Taron Johnson, CB Ryan Carter, and CB Breon Borders. Wallace and Carter come to the Bills via UDFA’s, Borders comes back for the 2018 season after spending the end of 2017 on the practice squad. Phillip Gaines came via free agency from the Kansas City Chiefs, and finally, CB Taron Johnson was drafted in the 4th round with the 121st pick. None of these players are guaranteed to make the roster but I expect to see Gaines and Johnson stick with the team as depth in the event a starter is unavailable. Considering the talent at the position, I could see the Bills stocking up on the position, leading one of the remaining names to sneak on to the 53 man roster with an impressive training camp.

That wraps up the cornerback review for the 2017 Buffalo Bills. Our series is nearly done, with positional reviews of safety and special teams rounding out the remaining articles. As this 6 week period between OTA’s and training camp occurs, look for remaining positional review articles along with spotlights on common injuries in the NFL. The goal at Banged Up Bills is to educate my fellow fans. I enjoy any and all feedback via Facebook at Banged Up Bills and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for your time and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- TE

Season injury review of the tight end position.

Today’s off season analysis focuses on the tight end position for the Buffalo Bills. This season, 4 tight ends suited up for the Bills with varying levels of success. Today’s post will break down the injuries sustained to the TE corps and impact for next season.

First assessment starts with TE Khari Lee. The 3rd year pro found his footing with the Bills for the last 8 games of the season primarily used as a blocking tight end with some occasional work on special teams. He did not see any time on the injury report and saw no targets on offense. As he was only active for half the season and has one year left on his contract, he may be an attractive option to return as he can provide depth.

Next is TE Logan Thomas. The QB turned TE turned some heads this season with his conversion to TE which appears to be working in his favor as he appeared in 12 games for the Bills. While he did not accumulate head turning stats, 7 receptions for 67 yards and 1 TD, he fit into the offense nicely and showed that he is able to play tight end at the highest levels. Thomas recently did have knee surgery which knocked him out of spring practices for the foreseeable future. It did not appear that there was any prior injury as he did not appear on the injury report for any part of the season. Thomas has one year left on his contract and is an exclusive restricted free agent which I expected the Bills to bring back to develop further as a tight end.

TE Nick O’Leary became a increased focal point in the offense and appeared to finally show flashes of what got him drafted out of Florida State. Stats for O’Leary are: 22 receptions for 322 yards and 2 TD’s which are all career high’s for him. Injury wise, the 3rd year pro dealt with late season back pain which was possibly back spasms or pulled muscles which forced him to miss only one game. As O’Leary has improved every season in Buffalo, he is an exclusive restricted free agent, and continues to grow into the offense, it would be a no-brainer to bring him back for next season.

Finally, TE Charles Clay leads the pack with his major knee injury early in the season. If you recall, he partially tore both his MCL and meniscus during the Cincinnati game during a late tackle out of bounds. Clay did have surgery to trim down the meniscus and 3 games, returning for the contest against New Orleans. While his return was remarkable, he continued to appear on the injury report for the rest of the year. His stats overall for the year: 49 receptions for 558 yards and 2 TD’s. While he was a safety valve for Tyrod Taylor, the amount of money paid to him for that production doesn’t equate.

His initial injury from a return to play perspective is unremarkable, but long term concerns remain. I had previously written on his previous knee complaints and my thoughts on how he will fare. Having knee injuries such as this add to the overall damage and may continue to cause problems. While the body has the remarkable capacity to heal and remodel based on injury, sports such as football impede the ability to heal as quickly, leading to greater difficulty to maintain a high level of play. Clay is only 28 years old and while he should have several productive years of football left, this may be limited if he continues to deal with the chronic knee complaints from earlier. I envision a scenario where the Bills let him play out his contract and move on from him as they have several younger, healthier players in the wings and will allow the team to get the salary cap under control.

Overall, the TE position is relatively healthy with the exception of Clay who can still be productive with the proper medical treatment. There are several other players that the Bills have on their radar with the previously mentioned Lee and Thomas. They also have TE Keith Towbridge who spent the year on IR with a foot injury sustained in training camp. The Bills have also recently signed TE Jason Croom to a futures/reserve deal. There will be some players that will be odd man out come training camp but many things can and will happen in the off season.

Continue to check back with me at Banged Up Bills for the latest injury news and analysis. Thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Zay Jones Knee Surgery Speculation

Speculating the type of knee surgery that WR Zay Jones may have had which is forcing him out of spring practices.

This new regime knows how to keep secrets! It appears nothing seems to escape the fortress that is One Bills Drive. This explains why news that WR Zay Jones underwent knee surgery last week which will force him out of the rest of spring practices. Today’s article will attempt to identify what the procedure may have been and explain the timing.

If you recall, Jones had a repair of the labrum in his shoulder which limited his production during his rookie season. Looking at a general protocol following a labral repair, Zay would be in the 3rd phase of his recovery by now according to the timeline as stated in January. By reaching this stage, he would demonstrate the strength required to adequately use crutches to assist in weight bearing following a knee surgery. This would explain why he is having knee surgery now at this time in the off-season rather than immediately such as most other players do. What this knee surgery also tells is us that his shoulder rehabilitation is progressing as expected and should be able to return to full health by the time the regular season rolls around.

As in most cases, we always want to know what type of procedure that the players have. While this is private information for both HIPPA and competitive reasons, I am still able to speculate the type of procedure. The information released is generally vague which indicates Jones escaped serious injury including ACL, MCL, severe meniscus tears, patellar fractures, etc. These types of injuries are almost always reported and would have ramifications regarding his availability for the season.

I believe this injury is related to the injury sustained during the Jets game during their 3 game slide in the middle of the season. If you recall, he hyperextended his right leg as the result of being tripped during a route run. He was later listed on the injury report with an ankle injury which may have bore the brunt of the injury acutely, but he may have suffered minor damage in the knee which may not have affected his production at the time.

Due to the hyperextension, Jones may have suffered a frayed meniscus that could have possibly caused pain, swelling, catching, occasional locking, and general discomfort. He may have also suffered from plica syndrome. This is a condition that is due to to irritated synovial membrane that may be the result of a meniscal tear, repetitive knee bending or straightening, blunt trauma or twisting, or altered knee motion. Both of these issues can be managed conservatively and addressed with physical therapy with effective results. Unfortunately, In Zay’s case, there was apparently not enough progress which warranted surgery.

There were some Twitter trolls who believe this surgery may have been related to his meltdown in Los Angeles in where he was in an altered mental state and attempted to kick through a window and jump out. I do not believe that to be the case as he would have suffered more superficial injuries to his foot, ankle, and lower leg which would have required immediate surgery compared to a scheduled surgery.

McDermott during his press conference noted that this was a procedure that he has needed, he had addressed it during rehab while addressing his shoulder, and that he miss only the spring session. According to the schedule, there are OTA’s until mandatory minicamp from June 12-14. This would give Jones about 4 weeks to recover in order to participate in some fashion, though it was made known he would likely miss minicamp. There is no timeline so in case there are any setbacks, he will not be held to any standard. The average time to recover is 4-6 weeks for both types of surgeries which fit the limited timeline that the Bills suggested missing the spring.

Either way, this is something that should not warrant any complications. It appears he is addressing his injuries, his shoulder is on track with rehabilitation, and looks as though he will be at full health come training camp. It is unfortunate that he has to deal with these issues, but sometimes, this is unavoidable.

Continue to check back for the latest updates at Banged Up Bills. Follow on Facebook at Banged Up Bills and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Buffalo Bills Season Injury Review- LB

Assessing the LB positional injury review from the 2017 season.

Continuing this off-season is the positional injury review’s of this past season for the Buffalo Bills. Today’s review focuses on the LB position. This was a position of weakness during the 2017 season which was horrendous against the run. Whether this is good or bad, most of the unit returns along with some new faces which allow for greater depth. There was a total of 6 players to suit up at the position with a wide variance of statistical success.

First man up is LB Lorenzo Alexander. The elder statesman of the corps managed to stay incredibly healthy during this past season. He was a frequent participant on the injury report requiring weekly rest days but never for a specific injury. The 34 year old, undrafted free agent out of California has spent 11 years in the league playing a variety of positions which may explain why he has such staying power. His ability to adapt to a variety of positions including offensive tackle, tight end, defensive tackle, linebacker, defensive end, and fullback along with special teams. This has forced him to pay close attention to his body and how it operates to adjust to the demands of the positions which I believe has allowed him to stay in the league as long as he has. Despite being one of the older players on the field, he is still able to produce with 3 sacks, 53 tackles with 12 assisted, and 3 forced fumbles. Unless there are a number of linebackers that impress the coaching staff, expect Alexander to remain on the roster in 2018 and continue to be productive.

Next up is LB Preston Brown. The 4th year LB had an incredibly productive season, leading the NFL in tackles with 144 total tackles, 84 solo and 60 assisted and adding in 3 forced fumbles. Brown also thankfully avoided the injury report which is why he was able to be so productive. Despite his availability and production, the Bills did not resign him in free agency, allowing him to sign with his hometown Cincinnati Bengals. While his production is lost, the Bills at least addressed the positional need through the draft with LB Tremaine Edmunds.

Adding the veteran presence of LB Ramon Humber brought mixed opinions from pundits as the veteran has been around the league for 10 years now playing for Indianapolis, New Orleans, and most recently Buffalo. As a 30 year old linebacker, he was able to produce 56 solo tackles, 27 assisted with 1 forced fumble while playing in 13 games and starting 9. Humber only suffered a broken thumb in the win over the Falcons in November, had surgery to stabilize the area, and then proceeded to miss 3 games. During that time, rookie LB Matt Milano stepped in and overtook his starting position, leading Humber to be a depth player, typically what he has been his entire career. The thumb won’t cause any issues coming into the 2018 season but due to his age and ability, he may find himself a camp cut unless he impresses the coaching staff.

Speaking of LB Matt Milano, the rookie 5th round pick out of Boston College impressed many this season with his ability to step up in place of the injured Humber. The rookie saw time in all 16 games and started 5. Milano was able to collect 29 tackles with 14 assists along with a forced fumble with return for a TD and added in 1 interception. While he is not the linebacker that McDermott envisions to run his defense, he has shown the ability to be aware on the field as evident by the statistics he collected this season. Injury wise, Milano stayed relatively healthy, only suffering hamstring injuries early in the season in September and then a more severe injury to the hamstring which kept him out of the playoff loss in Jacksonville. It is unknown whether this was the same side or two separate injuries. As hamstrings are soft tissue and can heal fully, he should not have any setbacks going into this season. He is still a young player and adjusting to the NFL which could put him at risk to develop further hamstring or chronic injuries, but as he sat out the last game and was able to rest, I do not believe this to be the case. Expect Milano to pick up where he left off and continue to produce in 2018.

Rounding out the linebacking corps is LB Deon Lacey and LB Tanner Vallejo. Lacy was largely ineffective, totaling only 1 tackle and spending most of his time on special teams. During his rookie season, he suffered hamstring early in the season and did not appear to re-injure it later. The coaching staff will most likely decide his fate as he was primarily special teams player. As for Vallejo, his rookie season got off to a slow start with a knee injury late in the preseason. After that, most of his playing time was in special teams with no stats recorded on defense. As he was a draft pick of this regime, I expect him to find a place on this roster for next season.

This finishes out the players who suited up at linebacker for the Bills in 2017. The LB position demonstrate significant turnover with my picks of Alexander and Milano locks to return to the roster and Humber and Vallejo competing for backup jobs. Lacey will find himself out of a job unless he impresses in camp. Add in 1st round draft pick LB Tremaine Edmunds out of VA Tech along with UDFA LB Corey Thompson out of LSU, free agent signing of LB Julian Stanford, and practice squad member LB Xavier Woodson-Luster will help reshape this position drastically.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for the latest news updates and articles on the Buffalo Bills. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Kerley & Palepoi FA Signing’s

Read up on the injury histories of the latest Buffalo Bills free agents.

The Bills just do not stop! They continue to attempt to find players to add depth to their roster by signing WR Jeremy Kerley and DT Tenny Palepoi. Both will add desperately needed personnel to positions that are generating significant turnover in the off season. As always on Banged Up Bills, I will review their injury histories and make observations whether they are a good fit for the 2018 Buffalo Bills.

First up is WR Jeremy Kerley. The former Jets and 49ers wide receiver has seen considerable playing time in the league since entering in 2011 as a 5th round draft pick of the Jets. While he has never eclipsed more than 850 yards and 3 TD’s in a season, he has shown he is able to produce in an offense despite subpar QB play as evident with the teams he has played with. The 7th year pro has sustained his share of injuries beginning in 2011 with a knee injury which appeared to be a sprain that cost him 2 games late in the season. 2012 allowed him to be active for every game but deal with back, finger, hand, and hamstring injuries.

2013 saw Kerley deal with a head injury along with a dislocated elbow which cost him 4 games total and also dealt with finger, back, and hamstring injuries once again. 2014 was his first healthy year where he did not suffer any injuries and only dealt with illness which did not appear to affect his play. 2015 saw him continue to stay healthy despite a concussion in the preseason and a minor calf injury late into the year which he was ruled probable at that time. The veteran wideout left New York to play on the west coast for a year with San Francisco in which he continued to stay healthy, only suffering what appeared to be a mild ankle injury for which he avoided any missed games. Finally, 2017 was favorable to Kerley despite the Jets sustaining a myriad of injuries which forced many to injured reserve. Despite his healthy season, Kerley was suspended for 4 games for violating the PED policy which led to his release.

The 7th year pro has managed to avoid serious injury and shaken off some of the early career threatening injuries that derail most young players. He appears to understand how to take care of his body and avoid injuries that may cause long term issues. While not guaranteed to make the roster, he has developed the ability to make the most of his targets when given the chance.

Next up is DT Tenny Palepoi formerly of the Los Angeles Chargers. Palepoi entered the league in 2014 after going undrafted. During his time in the league, the big DT has been primarily in a backup role, never starting a game during his 4 years with the team. His career stat line is 1 sack and 35 tackles along with 18 assists. While he is only 27, he does have the ability to continue to grow as a player. Injury wise, Palepoi did not miss time in 2014 but suffered a fractured foot in 2015 that cost him his entire season. While there is not specifics as to what he suffered, a man of his size suffering a fractured foot that cost him the season leads me to believe that he suffered a Lisfranc fracture.

The 4th year pro was able to come back in 2016 fully healthy but suffered a shoulder injury which cost him one game and a hamstring injury which forced him out of 2 games later in the season. To add insult to injury, he was suspended 4 games for violating the PED policy causing him to miss 6 games in total during 2016. During the 2017 season, Palepoi saw his best season statistically with 1 sack and 20 solo tackles while avoiding further maladies.

Overall, these signings continue to demonstrate the Bills ability to find talent at a cheap price and build depth at key positions. One interesting note, both of these players have been suspended for PED violations which appear to deviate away from “The Process”. However, both players have demonstrated their ability to stay healthy, produce when asked, and it appears that these minor transgressions are able to be looked past in order to still bring them into Buffalo. These aren’t sexy signings, but they do allow the Bills to see what veteran presence they have at these positions rather than draft rookies and sign undrafted free agents which have proved nothing in the NFL.

I believe these are the last signings until the draft on Thursday. There has been never ending talk about what the Bills will do with the draft pick bounty and how it will parlay into 2018. Personally, the Bills should draft Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield if they are available. If not, go get Lamar Jackson and build off the offense that Tyrod Taylor was based out of last year. Use whatever picks are left and fills holes with the best player available. These are just my opinions; I have no say just like everyone else. All I want is the Bills to take that next step towards the promised land, but I have faith that Beane and McDermott will pick the right players. Until then, continue to follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills for the latest Bills injury news. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Richie Incognito’s Retirement

Analyzing Incognito’s injury & social history contributing towards his retirement.

Big news coming out of One Bills Drive! G Richie Incognitio announced his retirement recently in stunning fashion by firing his agent and notifying Peter King of Sports Illustrated that he is no longer playing after 12 seasons. He described his reasons due to stress along with maintaining a strict diet and issues with his liver and kidneys. Overall, a multitude of reasons led to this abrupt retirement especially after signing a contract which reduced his overall salary to help against the cap. Today’s post will assess his injury history to determine if any injuries are suspect to blame along with his social history which may have led to this sudden announcement.

Incognito was drafted in the 3rd round in 2005 out of Nebraska by the St. Louis Rams. During his time in the league, he has had stops in St. Louis, Miami, and two stints in Buffalo. During his time in St. Louis from 2005-2009, Incognito provided overall effective play and was able to relatively remain healthy. 2007 saw the offensive guard deal with an unspecified knee injury that led to being placed on IR for the rest of the season. 2009 saw Incognito deal with a foot injury midway through the season that caused him to miss 4 games. This is the only significant missed time that he missed during his career. There is little information available for St. Louis injury report from 2005-2008 which would shed light on early career injuries.

Following signing with Miami, 2010 saw him avoid injury and 2011 he dealt with an ankle injury that forced him to miss one game. 2012 saw him healthy, but 2013 dealt with a neck injury prior to being suspended for the infamous bullying incident with Jonathan Martin which kept him out of football for the rest of the 2013 season and all of 2014. After some time away from the game, Incognito made the most of his 2nd chance by signing with Buffalo and a rebirth of his career. During his time in Buffalo, the veteran suffered a shoulder injury during the 2015 season, a neck injury in 2016, and ankle and shoulder injuries during 2017. I cannot elaborate on the specifics of these injuries as there is little detail available other than general injury reports and limited video detailing the specific injuries.

For someone at his position, he has missed little time and the injuries that he has sustained have not been severe. In fact, as the older he got, the better his health and play had improved. Unfortunately, Incognito is a complex man with issues greater than physical health. It has been reported that Incognito has had much experience with drugs and alcohol during his time in the league. In 2007 while in training camp during rehabilitation, he admitted that he was out partying all night and doing things professional athletes shouldn’t be doing. He also reports in the same article how he was self medicating with marijuana and dealing with depression for which he was prescribed medication for in 2009. He describes that he was dealing with so much mental and physical stress during that time and that he needed to find balance in his life.

Elaborating more in Tyler Dunne’s article on Bleacher Report, Incognito states that he has been self medicating with alcohol and marijuana going back to his college days. Add in anger issues and that is a lot to handle for anyone. He does have an admitted problem which he appeared to have under control during his second stint in Buffalo. To the dismay of the front office and fans, Incognito is walking away after taking a pay cut that resulted in firing his agent and retiring suddenly.

Looking at everything, the man is 34 years old playing a punishing position with a long list of substance abuse and mental health complaints. While no one is perfect and no one can play forever, it is still disappointing to see him walk away. Readdressing his original comments regarding his liver and kidneys along with the stress may shed more light on the situation. The liver helps filter toxins out of the body, regulates blood composition, processes nutrients, and metabolizes alcohol & drugs, among other functions. The kidneys help remove waste & drugs from the body via urination helps regulate body fluids, assist in regulating blood pressure, and control production of red blood cells which assist in carrying oxygen through the body via hemoglobin. These two organs have likely taken a beating with the substance abuse that he has admitted to over his career. Add in stress from playing at such a high level and function of those organs can be compromised. The body can only take so much and both his doctors and him think that this is the breaking point which is leading him to walk away.

I will not elaborate as to what he is experiencing in his liver and kidneys specifically as I do not know and I believe there is better trained individuals to potentially identify those complaints. However, I am confident that injuries are not forcing him away from the game with stress being a cover. The abuse that football plays in forcing retirement does have an impact but is not the reason. Whether Incognito wants to return is totally on him and the Bills still retain his rights should he do so, but if he truly does walk away, it is for good. As he has not shown up for Phase I of OTA’s, it appears that he is sticking to his original decision.

The Bills offensive line has taken a beating this off season with the trade of T Cordy Glenn, the retirement of C Eric Wood, and now the retirement of G Richie Incognito. This may be the impetus for the front office to accelerate rebuilding their offensive line as it had begun to show its age this past season and as the team trends towards focusing on youth. Any which way you look at it, losing #64 hurts the team but does not kill them. The 12th year pro made the playoffs, several Pro Bowl’s, and walks away at the top of his game. Best of luck to Richie in retirement and I hope that he takes care of himself both mentally and physically.

Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for the latest updates and articles regarding the Buffalo Bills. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and on Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!