Bucs sticking with troubled Aqib Talib
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik confirmed today the team intends to welcome cornerback Aqib Talib – and his legal troubles – back into the fold when training camp opens this week.
Talib is facing a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas, for which he is scheduled to stand trail in March. But, in the meantime, Dominik said, the Bucs aren’t making any snap decisions.
“I would like to know exactly what the feeling is from Aqib’s defense attorneys to find out exactly where they think this entire process will be heading,” Dominik said. “As of now, everyone in Tampa should expect Aqib Talib to show up for the first day or training camp.”
Dominik hasn’t spoken to Talib’s defense attorneys yet, but plans to very soon. He also wants to meet personally with Talib to find out more specifics about his case. But when pressed, Dominik admitted that, short of a shocking revelation, little in those conversations is likely to alter the team’s plans.
“I would think that’s a fair statement,” he responded.
Talib, who was suspended for one game by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last season for involvement in a battery committed against a taxi driver, has been an irritant to the Bucs front office during his career. In addition to the battery arrest, he has been fined and disciplined by the club in numerous cases for everything ranging from fighting against teammates to a profanity-laced run-in with coach Raheem Morris in the lobby of the team hotel during a road trip.
Now, Talib faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted in the Texas case, though the facts of the case remain unclear.
Dominik tried to make a distinction between Talib’s history and the makeup and character of most of the team’s players.
“I would step back and look at our team as a whole,” he said. “I do think it’s a disservice when we talk about our team and we forget about Josh Freeman and Gerald McCoy and so many players . . . guys who have been here and done a really good job as part of our organization.
“Certainly, I’d like to find out more information about (Talib’s arrest). No one condones being in the news in that capacity that often, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to pass judgment.”
Dominik said he believes Talib could face punishment from the league even though his case hasn’t been heard, but has not yet been able to consult with the league office about the matter. He also left the door open to the Bucs disciplining Talib.
“I’ll talk to the league when it’s more appropriate,” Dominik said. “We’ll get together and put our heads together as far as their thoughts and our thoughts. Certainly they’ve got to review the case as well, I’m sure. So we’ll just wait.
“As an organization, no matter what, we’ll still hold ourselves accountable with what we do on and off the football field and we’ll still do that as an organization regardless. Our shield is important to us and we will always do everything to make sure it’s not tarnished or blemished.”