Aqib Talib suspended four games for violating NFL's performance-drug policy
The NFL and Bucs announced today that standout cornerback Aqib Talib has been suspended without pay for four games after a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The suspension is effective immediately, taking away one of the team’s top defenders and undermining the Bucs’ efforts to extensively use man-to-man coverage, Talib’s strength. The news is just the latest in a years-long series of issues with Talib, including multiple run-ins with the law.
Talib is eligible to return to the roster on Nov. 5, one day following the Bucs’ game at Oakland.
The team released a statement from Talib that reads as follows:
“Around the beginning of training camp, I made a mistake by taking an Adderall pill without a prescription. This is especially regrettable because, for the past several months, with Coach (Greg) Schiano's help, I've worked very hard to improve myself – professionally and personally – as a player and a man.
“I am truly sorry to my teammates, coaches and Buccaneers fans, and I'm disappointed in myself. I will work diligently every day of this suspension to stay in top football shape and be ready to help this team in the second half of the season. I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation I put myself in, which is why I will not exercise my appeal rights and will begin serving the suspension immediately.”
The league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs covers a wide range of substances, including Adderral. Use of the drug is permitted if a player goes through proper procedures outlined by the league. The league does not reveal or comment on specifics about violations and cannot confirm Talib's version of events.
Reacting to the news, Schiano in a statement said, “We are disappointed to learn that Aqib Talib will be suspended for four games, which will begin with our game tomorrow against Kansas City. I have spoken with Aqib, and he knows that he made a poor decision that let our team down. Certainly, other players will have the opportunity to step up while he serves this suspension.”
Talib has kept a low profile since a charge of aggravated assault in Texas was dropped in June. Talib had been accused by Garland police of shooting at his sister's live-in boyfriend in 2011. Talib also was suspended for a game in 2010 after agreeing to a deal with prosecutors after his arrest for battery, related to hitting a cab driver in St. Petersburg.