Much has changed for Richie Incognito over the last two months -- ever since Jonathan Martin's representatives made harassment allegations against the Pro Bowl guard and his teammates -- but Incognito says one thing remains most certainly the same.
"Even though I'm away from the team, it doesn't change the fact that I'm still pulling for my guys," Incognito told NFL Media on Tuesday.
Currently training at Athletes' Performance in Arizona, where he has spent each offseason for the last 10 years, Incognito agreed this weekend to accept the Dolphins' offer that would keep him on paid suspension for the rest of the season. He said he maintains constant communication with dozens of players and coaches.
With the plan to continue his NFL career, whether in Miami or elsewhere, Incognito is getting an early start on offseason training. Incognito would not discuss specifics about Ted Wells' investigation for the NFL. Martin, reached by phone last week, said he preferred not to comment about anything until after Wells' investigation concludes.
"I love these guys," said Incognito, reached by phone Tuesday afternoon. "I talk to them every single day, so I feel like I'm out there with them in spirit. I talk to the coaches after the game, the players.
"It was so much fun watching them win a big game Sunday against a very good division opponent that's owned the AFC East. I saw a team come together and play a complete football game and win a game in December when it matters with playoff implications."
Asked how difficult it's been to not be a part of the team's success, Incognito called it "tough" but said he doesn't want those emotions to cloud his pride for Miami's recent run.
"It's surreal to be watching from a distance, but I understand the situation," Incognito said. "It's tough to watch -- but it's also really fun. I'm watching my brothers out there playing ball, and I'm pulling for them.
"Look at (quarterback Ryan) Tannehill and his poise and confidence that he's playing with. And the offensive line and the young guys stepping up and contributing. It's a great job by (offensive line) coach (Jim) Turner to keep that unit together, playing at a high level, even though we had some guys go down and we're missing some pieces."
Incognito returned Nov. 24 to Arizona, where he also has an offseason home, so he could continue training with the hope that he'd be able to finish the final two games of the season following his six-game suspension.
Because Wells' investigation hasn't concluded, Incognito and the Dolphins decided it would be best for the team's focus to prolong the suspension with pay, per team sources. Incognito will receive pay for any potential playoff games should the team advance.
"I've done everything to cooperate," Incognito said. "I've done my part, I've told my side, and that's it. I told them everything I know -- all of the information I've got -- and I'm just waiting for the report. In the meantime, I'm just cheering my guys on."Follow Jeff Darlington on Twitter @jeffdarlington.