DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins and suspended left guard Richie Incognito were set to appear before an independent arbitrator who will decide the offensive lineman’s immediate fate Thursday, but the meeting hasn’t happened.
The hearing has been postponed until independent NFL investigator Ted Wells concludes his investigation of the Dolphins/Incognito/Jonathan Martin.
CBSMiami.com confirmed the story with CBSSports.com’s Jason LaCanfora. The delay was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Incognito arrived at the Dolphins facility a little after 3 p.m., roughly when Schefter first reported the hearing had been delayed.
“I have agreed to postpone my expedited arbitration hearing until after the investigation by Ted Wells is complete,” Incognito said in a statement. “I will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation with a goal of resuming my career with the Miami Dolphins at the conclusion of this investigation. I love my teammates and hope we can put this distraction behind us soon.”
“The Miami Dolphins and Richie Incognito have agreed to postpone his grievance hearing during his ongoing suspension,” the Dolphins said in a statement. “Richie is cooperating fully with the NFL investigation and will meet with Ted Wells.”
Incognito was suspended after reportedly having text messages and voice mails he left for Martin turned over to the team and the NFL as part of the investigation. He was suspended indefinitely, but the actual suspension can last a maximum of four games, per the collective bargaining agreement.
The team has acknowledged that Incognito’s suspension can’t last more than four weeks and the total suspension costs can’t exceed four game checks, plus one additional game check, or roughly $1.2 million.
If the Dolphins win the arbitration hearing, the team still has just 10 days left to decide what to do with Incognito. Under the CBA, his suspension would end on December 1 when the team is supposed to be playing the New York Jets.
However, the Dolphins have told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald that Incognito will never play another down for the team.
The Dolphins initially asked for a delay for the arbitration hearing because the franchise has Wells at the team’s facility. Wells is in town interviewing Dolphins players and staff on the alleged harassment claims made by tackle Jonathan Martin.
Incognito requested an expedited hearing when he filed his grievance last week. According to ESPN, the complaint said the suspended guard alleges the Fins haven’t provided examples of the conduct that was detrimental to the team which led to the suspension.
The grievance hearing is set to go before an independent arbitrator on Thursday. Incognito will have lawyer Mark Schamel, along with the NFL Players Association on his side during the hearing, according to ESPN.
When Martin met with Wells last week, as part of the NFL’s investigation, he was represented by lawyer David Cornwell, but the NFLPA was kept out of the interview. Cornwell and the NFLPA have a contentious relationship dating back to him losing the election to lead the NFLPA.