Richie Incognito says Donald Trump is a couple steps ahead of the world ... and his meeting with Vladimir Putin only confirmed that -- telling TMZ Sports, "That was a power position taken by Trump."
We got the ex-NFL star (sweatin' his ass off!) in L.A. (it was 86 degrees) when he told us he was proud of the way the President met with Russia's leader in Helsinki.
"We're reinforcing the borders," Incognito says.
In fact ... the former Buffalo Bill is so pleased with what the Trump administration is doing -- he says he wants to work with Melania on his anti-bullying campaign in the future!!