Arizona Cardinals defensive end Nick Eason is spitting mad at one of the offensive linemen he will be facing in Sunday’s 4:05 p.m. ET home game versus Miami.
Eason has accused Dolphins right guard Richie Incognito of expectorating in his face during a 2010 game while the former was playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eason, who is expected to start against Miami in place of the injured Darnell Dockett (hamstring), said Friday night that the incident has made him “really excited for the opportunity to play against the guy.”
“I’ve never had a player or person in my life spit in my face,” Eason told me and co-host Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It took everything in my power to restrain myself.”
Incognito is no stranger to controversy. Voted one of the league’s dirtiest players by his peers in several media polls conducted during an eight-year NFL career, Incognito had a well-publicized dust-up with Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith in Miami’s season-opener.
Smith was fined $21,000 by the NFL for kicking Incognito following a Dolphins fumble. Smith has said he responded after Incognito tried to injure his ankle after the play.
“He basically tried to break Antonio’s leg,” Eason said. “Antonio got fined because he had to kick the guy off of him and (the NFL) did nothing to him.
“Usually players who do that are the non-athletic guys who really can’t block people so they play dirty.”
Incognito was released by the St. Louis Rams late in the 2009 season after head-butting two Tennessee Titans players in the same game. The NFL fined Incognito $50,000 for the incidents, which raised the number of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties he had earned that season to six.
The 6-foot-3, 319-pound Incognito signed with Miami during the 2010 offseason and has started all but one game since. Incognito hadn’t generated headlines for any further conduct issues with the Dolphins until the hubbub with Smith earlier this month.
“I think I’ve evolved as a person,” Incognito told Dolphins media after the Smith incident. “Every so often there’s someone on the opposing defensive line that calls me a dirty player. I understand it.
“I play a physical brand of football and I get after people between the whistles. I do everything within my power to keep them off our running backs and the quarterback. Of course, there is going to be some displeasure with it.”
Eason said he isn’t entering the game aiming to get even with Incognito and won’t be baited into responding to any questionable tactics.
“They’ll be no retaliation,” said Eason, a 10-year NFL veteran. “I don’t do that, bringing selfish motives into the game because I’m all about winning. Retaliating and getting a 15-yard penalty is not going to help us win.
“We’re 3-0 right now and I want to continue to be 4-0.”