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Richie Incognito cleared to play in NFL's regular season

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith downplayed Monday's free-agent visit by veteran Richie Incognito.

If the Bucs grow desperate enough to sign the troubled guard, they are free to do so as of Monday evening.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports, via a league source, that Incognito has been cleared by the NFL to play again following last season's bullying scandal with former Miami Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin.

Incognito had been suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins.

"We are working with (Incognito's) people and monitoring his progress and it's gone well," Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this month, via NFL Media's Jeff Darlington. "I would say the one person that has been very responsive and gone through the program is Richie Incognito."

In addition to the Bucs, several other teams are interested in Incognito's services, per Darlington.

Now that Incognito is cleared for regular-season action, he will likely beat what once appeared to be long odds to suit up for NFL game action again.

UPDATE: NFL Media's Albert Breer reports that the Bucs have acquiredPro Bowl guard Logan Mankins from the New England Patriots for tight end Tim Wright and a draft pick, per a source apprised of the situation. However, Tampa Bay's general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday that the Mankins deal does not necessarily end the Bucs' interest in Incognito, per Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune.

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