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Buccaneers working with NFL to decide penalties for starting cornerback Aqib Talib in cab-ride arrest

TAMPA — Bucs starting cornerback Aqib Talib will continue to suit up while the team and the NFL look into his arrest on charges of simple battery and resisting arrest without violence late Wednesday in St. Petersburg.

Talib was booked into the Pinellas County Jail early Thursday after the Florida Highway Patrol said he punched a cab driver in the neck and ear while riding from a St. Petersburg club to a Tampa hotel. Talib, 23, posted $300 bail Thursday morning and was released. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Talib attended the team's afternoon practice at One Buc Place but did not speak with reporters.

General manager Mark Dominik said the team will work with commissioner Roger Goodell in resolving the matter, meaning the Bucs won't suspend Talib or assess other penalties for now. Under league rules, Goodell can assess penalties that include a fine and a suspension. Teams do have latitude when they hand out their own discipline.

"It's unfortunate what happened," Dominik said. "I've been in contact with the league office. This falls under the Personal Conduct Policy. Whatever decision is made, the commissioner's decision supersedes anything the club does at this time.

"I think I'll just let that course run out the way it's supposed to."

An FHP report said Talib hit taxi driver David Duggan in the right ear and neck with a closed fist while in the cab at Gandy Boulevard and Interstate 275 at 11:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Trooper John Ryan responded to a call from Duggan that he was receiving verbal threats. When Ryan arrived, Talib and two other men were passengers in the taxi, the report said. Ryan told Talib three times to get out of the car, but Talib was uncooperative, it said. The report also noted there was an "indication of alcohol influence."

Duggan said he picked the men up at Nova 535, a venue that hosts private parties, at 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N and charged them $50 to take them to a hotel on Spruce Street in Tampa, where the Bucs had been housed during training camp.

"It was like someone hit me upside the head with a hammer," said Duggan, 47, of St. Petersburg, who had been driving with Independent Cab for three days.

"He hit me so hard, he knocked my hat off my head," Duggan told the St. Petersburg Times.

Duggan described Talib as the most intoxicated of the men. He said one of the other men restrained Talib after he was hit.

The other two men have not been identified. It's believed they are teammates.

Duggan was taken to Bayfront Medical Center.

He said the attack was unprovoked.

Neither the Bucs nor Talib commented on specifics. Though coach Raheem Morris said the team was still gathering details, he said Talib, who has had problems controlling his emotions in the past, should have shown better judgment.

"He has to continue to grow up," Morris said. "He has to age every day and get better every day. He goes a long time doing the right thing, and then he messes up. We have to see what's going on. We have to resolve the issues.

"There's nobody to blame but (him)self."

In May, Talib was involved in a fight with offensive tackle Donald Penn during a team practice and tried to hit Penn with his helmet. Instead, he hit teammate Torrie Cox, who was trying to break up the fracas. Cox needed stitches in his face.

At the NFL's rookie symposium last year, Talib was involved in a fight with then-teammate Cory Boyd. Among the topics covered at the symposium was personal conduct. Talib also has been fined heavily by the Bucs numerous times for reasons that range from conduct to tardiness.

At last year's scouting combine, Talib admitted to testing positive for marijuana three times while at Kansas.

Dominik said the team will continue to work with Talib on anger management issues.

"What we're doing is trying to help him," Dominik said. "It may not seem like it's working, but we're going to continue to work with him. If he needs counseling, he's going to get counseling."

Asked whether Talib has issues controlling his emotions, Dominik said, "Aqib is a very outgoing and outspoken young man. He certainly needs to mature a lot more. That's what I'll say."

This is the second dose of unwelcome off-the-field news for the Bucs this week. Safety Tanard Jackson on Tuesday was suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Times staff writer Emily Nipps contributed to this report.

Aqib Talib attends practice at One Buc Place on Thursday a few hours after paying $300 bail and getting out of Pinellas County Jail.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

Aqib Talib attends practice at One Buc Place on Thursday a few hours after paying $300 bail and getting out of Pinellas County Jail.

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Buccaneers working with NFL to decide penalties for starting cornerback Aqib Talib in cab-ride arrest 08/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 21, 2009 8:05am]
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