According to a recent article by Rick Stroud in the St. Petersburg Times, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have all but made up their mind to release Aqib Talib, the judgement-impaired cornerback whose off-field troubles have overshadowed his undeniable talent.
Talib was recently charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon stemming from a March 21st incident in Texas during which police believe he fired a gun at a relative’s girlfriend police. Serious stuff, punishable for two to 20 years if convicted.
Not that you need any reminder, but as Stroud notes, this is hardly the first misstep by Talib since he was drafted by the Bucs in ’09:
He fought a teammate at the NFL rookie symposium. In 2009 he swung a helmet at tackle Donald Penn during an argument and inadvertently struck cornerback Torrie Cox, splitting his head open. Last year Talib agreed to a deal with prosecutors to resolve a battery charge after he was accused of hitting a St. Petersburg cab driver, and he was suspended for the first game last season by commissioner Roger Goodell.
I suppose it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Bucs are reportedly intent on parting ways with Talib. Talib might be looking at a 6-8 game suspension from the league. That’s if he’s not locked up for the second degree felony charges he’s facing. And even if the Bucs could stomach losing Talib for a prolonged period of time in the short term, they thankfully don’t plan on naively hoping that this will be the wake up call that the embattled 25-year old needs to finally get his life on track.
The Bucs have reached a point where they believe Talib’s talent no longer justifies the trouble he generates. They believe it’s only a matter of time before he runs afoul of the rules again.
It’s all sad, but hey, the Bucs would be making the smart decision. They rolled the dice a bit on the kid, got some solid production out of him the two years he was in town, didn’t commit too many financial or human resources to the project, then cut their losses at the right moment, realizing a new culture had already planted roots throughout the rest of the Tampa Bay organization. No shame in that sequence of events for the organization if you ask me.
With historic developments on the lockout front in store as early as this week, not to mention the upcoming Draft beginning on Thursday, it already promises to be an interesting week for NFL fans. For Tampa Bay partisans,Talib’s unfortunate circumstance only multiplies the stakes. Suddenly cornerback looks like a position the team might need to invest a high draft pick on once more, just two short years after using a first round chip on Talib. No real choice in that division — no talent at corner = no chance at slowing down the likes of Drew Brees and Matt Ryan on a consistent basis.