The Miami Dolphins reinstated lineman Richie Incognito on Tuesday. The Dolphins suspended the former pro-bowl guard after allegations arose that he bullied fellow Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin. Among other abuses, Martin’s camp accused Incognito of essentially shaking Martin down for money and leaving a racist, threatening phone message that insulted the second-year player’s mother.
The reinstatement comes two days after the end of the NFL season and a day after the release of a thousand text messages between Incognito and Martin that revealed obsessions with booze, sex, and partying but little in the way of actual bullying. “I would to thank my family and friends for their continued love and support. It’s official #FREE BIRD #FREEINCOGNITO,” the reinstated player tweeted. “I support@J Martin71 100% in his return to football in 2014.”
Neither Martin nor Incognito is expected to return to the Dolphins in 2014. The odd couple–the former, a Stanford graduate; the latter, one of the meanest linemen in the NFL–set off a national debate on bullying in the wake of Martin’s departure from the team in October and subsequent hospitalization. The NFL will release its report on the controversy early this offseason.