Exciting news this day for Bill Belichick: The fruit basket is on its way.
It comes to him (theoretically, anyway) compliments of Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith, who, thanks to Belichick, only singed his eyebrows in the firestorm that is Richie Incognito. Yes, Lovie and the guys played host to The Train Wreck That Walks Like A Man on Monday, but by Tuesday the Bucs had been bailed out by Belichick and the Patriots, who agreed to trade veteran guard Logan Mankins to Tampa, thereby alleviating the need for Lovie to give any further consideration to Incognito.
It does point out again, however, that the NFL is a business, hello, first and foremost. Incognito is a thug and a bully who's worn out so many welcomes -- in college and the pros -- that you'd think he'd be reduced to bouncing drunks in some dive bar in Peestain, Saskatchewan, by now. But, no.
Instead, the Bucs came callin', a year after Incognito was tried, convicted and sentenced to purgatory by the NFL for turning yet another locker room into a civic theater production of Lord of the Flies. Football locker rooms tend to have that sort of ambience to them, anyway -- you can't stuff that much testosterone into one room without someone getting duct-taped to a goalpost on occasion -- but Incognito, as usual, took it a whole other level. A thoroughly noxious one.
So, Jonathan Martin fled the racist taunts and let's-toughen-this-guy-up nonsense, and Incognito was out of the league. But not forever, because ... well, because in addition to a lengthy rap sheet for mayhem and discord, he can also play a little. And teams will always make allowances for guys who can play a little.
And so here came O-line thin Tampa Bay a-courtin'. And don't think the Buccaneers will be the last to give Incognito a look. Right now, for instance, there's are arguments being floated about down in Indy that perhaps the Colts should give Incognito a look, because he can block people and the Colts are in desperate need of someone with that skill set.
Nothing fires a charitable spirit like simple craven need. At least in professional sports, anyway.
And so someone will give Incognito his second (or third, or fourth) chance, and frankly that is as it should be. He's paid his debt to Roger Goodell, and therefore has as clean a sheet as a serial jackass like Incognito can have. You just hope whoever does give him another shot keeps him on a very short leash -- or maybe outfits him with one of those Invisible Fence electric collars.
No doubt he'll do something worthy of banishment again. But if he can keep the big uglies out of Insert Quarterback Name Here's kitchen in the meantime -- and not cost a lot of coin in the bargain -- he'll be worth it.
Value, after all, is what drives any business decision. And so even jackasses may apply.