BC-FBN--Pro Bowl,1st Ld-Writethru
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito jogged off the practice field Wednesday, started signing autographs for kids and then declined all interview requests.
Incognito’s version of what happened during a wild-card game at Jacksonville earlier this month remains unclear.
Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue accused Incognito of using “weak racist slurs” during the game. They ended up as Pro Bowl teammates this week, and Ngakoue said Wednesday they cleared the air and are good to go.
Ngakoue declined to get into specifics about their conversation at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex, preferring to move on.
Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson provided more insight, saying he saw Ngakoue and Incognito talking before practice.
“That was really cool, you know,” Jackson said. “We have a huge respect for each other, and sometimes the heat of the moment can get to you and you can say things you might not really mean or do things you might not really mean and be apologetic for it.
“I think it shows the true character of a man to come and apologize and/or talk about it to clear the air.”
Ngakoue called out Incognito on Twitter hours after Jacksonville’s 10-3 victory on Jan. 7. Ngakoue repeatedly has declined to disclose what Incognito said.
“I just felt like people needed to know what happened,” Ngakoue said the next day. “He knows what he said. I don’t got to repeat it.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday the exchange “remains under review.”
Here are some other things of note from the first day of Pro Bowl practice:
BELL’S CONTRACT: Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell says he and the team are making progress on a contract extension . Pittsburgh has presented an initial offer, and Bell says “we are a lot closer than we were last year.”
The 25-year-old back turned down a long-term contract in 2017, skipped training camp and then signed a one-year, $12 million franchise tender. The Steelers could franchise him again in March, a move Bell told ESPN would force him to consider retiring or sitting out the 2018 season. A second tag would be worth around $14.5 million.
“I think we’ll get something done and it will be exciting for both sides, for the fans and everybody,” said Bell, who led the NFL in touches (404) this past season.
LAWRENCE’S DEAL: Cowboys defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence is also in for a huge payday after finishing with 14½ sacks. Lawrence said following NFC practice that he would welcome the franchise tag , which would guarantee Lawrence around $17 million in 2018.
“It will get done eventually, so I’m not worrying about my contract,” Lawrence told NFL.com. “I’m trying to have a good time with this group of guys and my family while I’m here. ... Franchise not bad. Contract not bad. So, like I said, I’m not worrying about nothing. I’ll leave it up to my agent. He’ll take care of me.”
STILL REELING: Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye said he and his four Pro Bowl teammates are still trying to get over losing to New England in the AFC championship game.
“It’s only going to motivate me to go harder and motivate our team,” he said. “I already see the hunger. We’re even talking about it here in Orlando. I know we’ve got to watch the (Super Bowl). But we’ll be there next year. We’re going to find a way.”
TRASH KING: Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey might be the NFL’s best trash-talker. He upset Baltimore’s Steve Smith in 2016 and agitated mild-mannered Cincinnati’s A.J. Green so much in November that Green choked and body-slammed Ramsey . Ramsey doesn’t plan on quieting down much, if at all, this week.
“I don’t know if anybody out here is on my level with the trash talk yet. But, throughout the week, we’re going to find out,” Ramsey said.
“I’m going to cool it a little bit. But at the end of the day, I’m me. I’m always going to be me (and I’m) here in full effect this week.”
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