DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito says there’s validity to complaints of dirty play by him—five years ago.
As for Sunday’s game, Incognito says he’s innocent of wrongdoing.
Following the Dolphins’ loss at Houston, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said Incognito played dirty by illegally going for the legs of opposing players and hitting after the whistle. Smith said Incognito even tried to twist and break his ankle.
Incognito, who began his NFL career with St. Louis in 2006-09 before joining the Dolphins, has long heard such complaints and said he doesn’t mind them.
"It’s a label that has been with me since I was a younger player, when I quite frankly did play dirty and I would go after guys," Incognito said Monday. "The first couple of years in St. Louis, I was playing frustrated football. I wasn’t mature enough to handle the situations we were in. We were doing a lot of losing.
"So I think back then the tag was deserved. I have evolved, and I think that label still sticks. Once you’re labeled with it, it’s very hard to shake."
Texans coach Gary Kubiak watched video of Smith’s duel with Incognito and said he saw nothing out of line.
"Those two had a heck of a battle going on all day long," Kubiak said. "I didn’t see anything different from what you normally see week to week. I just saw two guys getting after it."
Incognito had a rough game, committing two holding penalties while Smith had half a sack and a quarterback hurry. Miami lost 30-10.
But while Incognito could have played better, he said he didn’t play dirty.
"There was a lot of whining going on out there, and it went to the refs, and then the whining continued to the media after the game," Incognito said.
"I understand it. I play a physical brand of football, and I get after people in between the whistles. I do everything in my power to keep them off our running backs and quarterbacks. So of course there is going to be some displeasure with it."
Incognito said the complaint about twisting Smith’s ankle stemmed from a play where the Dolphins fumbled.
"He was getting up and trying to go for the ball," Incognito said, "so I pretty much tackled his legs."