Aqib Talib 'unfairly punished' by one game suspension, Ronde Barber says
Pro Bowl cornerback Ronde Barber played a little defense for Aqib Talib Wednesday.
Barber, the only remaining member of the Bucs' Super Bowl XXXVII team, said Talib's one-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy was unfair.
Talib will miss the Bucs' season opener against the Cleveland Browns Sunday and was forced to forfeit two game checks stemming from his assault on a cab driving in Aug. 2009.
"I don't know how the dealings with the league work all the time, but he's getting unfairly punished in my mind,'' Barber said. "But that's just my opinion. He's definitely made amends for his transgressions last preseason. I thought he had done enough. But they make decisions based on what they make decisions on and I'm not part of it. But we'll miss him this week. He'll be back. Hopefully, it's just another step in his learning curve.''
With Talib out, the Bucs will be forced to start second-year cornerback E.J. Biggers, who spent nearly his entire rookie season on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury.
"There's nothing ever crippling in this game. You've got to deal with certain types of adversity every week,'' Barber said. "Maybe (Talib) got hurt in training camp and was missing this game. Either way, you miss him. But you just keep marching on, dude. Biggers gets his opportunity. It will be nice to see him get his first game. I was telling him earlier, "don't be sitting on the sideline throwing up because you're nervous.' This is the real deal now.
"He was in on every single meeting (last year). He was absorbing it. I think that will pay dividends for him this Sunday. He's been playing with a lot of confidence so far in the preseason. I'm not worried about it at all.''