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Rex Ryan believes Richie Incognito can be ‘a leader’ for the Bills

Jun 16, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito (64) during minicamp at Ralph Wilson Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Rex Ryan has never been afraid to go against the grain, which is why it’s not really shocking that he believes Richie Incognito can be a leader for the Buffalo Bills in 2015.

The head coach has been pleasantly surprised by the offensive guard since bringing Incognito aboard this offseason and says, “He has exceeded my expectations.”

Ryan believes the experiences Incognito has been through aren’t as much of a detriment as most people would think.

“He’s been through a lot, but he’s seen a lot, he’s had years of experience in this league and things like that, but just because of his so called past, doesn’t mean that he can’t be a leader,” Ryan said (h/t syracuse.com). We welcomed him with open arms; he’s been tremendous here. And so, could I see him being a leader, yeah, sure, why not?”

Incognito knows his part in Jonathan Martin’s bullying scandal is “a big PR thing,” and thought the Denver Broncos were crazy to bring him in for a visit last year.

“What are they doing?,” he thought. “They can’t bring me in. They’ve got a good thing going. They’re rolling.”

After a year-and-a-half away from the game he loves, Incognito has been tremendous for the Bills—both on the field and in the locker room. He has earned the respect of fellow offensive lineman, center Eric Wood, for his relentless work ethic.

“I think some of the things that went down in Miami detracted from my leadership, just carrying on and goofing off and being a jerk sometimes,” Incognito said. “I think that kind of took away from what I was all about.”

That Incognito is a force to be reckoned with on the field has never been in question. He is a dominant run-blocking offensive guard and will be a boon to the Bills in this capacity for the upcoming season.

Whether or not he’s going to be a productive leader for Buffalo remains to be seen, but Ryan certainly doesn’t appear to be adverse to the prospect.