The Miami Dolphins have requested a delay for suspended guard Richie Incognito‘s non-football injury grievance against the team while the franchise cooperates with an independent investigation of the alleged violations that led to his suspension, according to sources.
Incognito’s expedited hearing is set for Thursday. Sources say his complaint alleges that the Dolphins have yet to provide specific examples of the detrimental conduct cited when he was suspended indefinitely Nov. 3. Sources did say the team acknowledged in a notification letter that Incognito’s suspension could not exceed the maximum of four weeks plus one additional game check under the collective bargaining agreement.
A Miami spokesman did not comment on the team’s request to delay Incognito’s hearing while the Dolphins work with independent investigator Ted Wells, whose probe moved into their facility Monday.
Incognito was granted an expedited hearing before a neutral arbitrator when he filed a non-football injury grievance late last week. The suspended Dolphins guard will be represented by outside counsel, Mark Schamel, but the NFL Players Association also will have a presence at the hearing.
Incognito is seeking reinstatement to the active roster and recovery of lost wages that could reach a maximum of $1,176,470.59 under terms of the maximum team penalty. The Dolphins have until Dec. 2 to restore Incognito to their active roster or waive him unless there is a decision rendered that accelerates that deadline.
The grievance hearing is not part of the independent investigation headed by Wells, who is in Miami this week to meet with Dolphins personnel and players. Wells met in New York on Friday with tackle Jonathan Martin, who offered his version of the events that led to Martin leaving the team Oct. 28, allegedly for being abused and bullied by Incognito, sources said.
The league’s investigation will reach beyond the relationship between Martin and Incognito, sources said.
Sources also say the NFLPA wants a full scope of Wells’ investigation and interview schedule. Additionally, if members of the Dolphins front-office staff were either victims or perpetrators of a “toxic” workplace environment, the union wants access to those conversations and facts. The league is not inclined to share that information until Wells’ investigation is complete.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith visited with the Dolphins on Friday, a day after meeting with Texans players. He was meeting with Jaguars players Monday. Much of his presentation is focused on the Incognito-Martin situation and the union’s role in the process.
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