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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

NFL will not suspend Talib for 2011, Bucs GM says



Update 12:00 Talib called it a “great decision” by the commissioner, saying it’s a “big burden off my shoulders.” He said he didn’t know what to expect after meeting with Goodell earlier this week, when he gave the “rundown on what really happened” and his lawyer presented information “he really didn’t know about.” Talib said he found out about the decision before tonight’s game.

“I’m happy it’s over with,” Talib said.

Talib said his injured hamstring is feeling better and he’ll be ready to go for the Sept 11 opener against the Lions.

Developing: Aqib Talib will not be suspended by the NFL for the 2011 season, but both the Bucs and the league will monitor his pending legal case.

Talib met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York Tuesday. He is scheduled to stand trial March 26, 2012, in Dallas County on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

General manager Mark Dominik said while he supported Goodell's decision, he isn't pleased with Talib's situation.

"I don't want have to deal with these kinds of things,'' Dominik said. "And again, I think Aqib and our football team knows that's not the kind of team we want to be here and build here. We want to be a team our community sits around and is really proud of. So I'm not relieved because I don't want to be in these situations anymore.

"But the truth is, this is America and he's getting his opportunity.''

Talib was suspended the first game last season for assaulting a St. Petersburg can driver in 2009. Dominik made the announcement prior to Saturday's preseason game with the Miami Dolphins. Talib has not played this preseason because of a hamstring injury but is expected to return Thursday at Washington.

"I got off the phone with the league office and we discussed Aqib's situation and they informed us he would not be suspended for the 2011 football season,'' Dominik said. "Certainly we and the National Football League is going to continue to track the case and we will proceed accordingly however that pans out.''   

Through his attorney, Frank Perez, Talib has maintained his innocence since his arrest for his role in a shooting in Garland, Texas last March 21.

After conferring with Talib once the NFL lockout ended, the Bucs agreed to allow him to return to the team. 

"I think they had an opportunity obviously to meet with Aqib Talib up in New York on Tuesday, hear what he felt along with his attorney, whatever they could provide to him and his agent, and that's when I had the opportunity to speak to the league office and they informed us of their decision. We support that as well. We feel the same way.''

Goodell had said he would impose discipline on players that violated the NFL conduct policy during the work stoppage and he retained that power in the 10-year collective bargaining agreement. However, Goodell has decided not to punish Talib or Titans receiver Kenny Britt.

Based on his discussions with Talib and his attorney, Dominik said he felt comfortable with Goodell's decision to allow Talib to play in 2011.

"What I know about what we learned, once Aqib came back to this football team and we had a chance to talk to his agent, the limited (information) the attorney could actually share with us and certainly Aqib's recant of what the story was, I do feel like I'm in agreement and wholeheartedly support what Commissioner Goodell has decided,'' Dominik said.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 28, 2011 12:05am]


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