Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL has not ruled on possible discipline for Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Aqib Talib

TAMPA — Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib on Monday cleared his biggest hurdle.

Now, he must wait and see if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will present another.

Talib's pending charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was dropped Monday by authorities in Dallas. Talib was scheduled to go to trial next week and faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

But the NFL has not ruled on possible discipline for his role in the shooting incident in March 2011. On Tuesday, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league office plans to review the case. It likely will decide on potential discipline before the regular season. Also, according to Talib's lawyer, the NFL requested a copy of the dismissal order, which is on file with the criminal district court.

Talib is still subject to discipline by Goodell under the league's far-reaching personal-conduct policy. It lets Goodell fine and/or suspend players regardless of the legal outcomes of their criminal cases.

These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. But there is relevant precedent.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for four games in 2010 after he was accused of — but not charged with — sexual assault in Georgia. After investigating, authorities said they believed something inappropriate happened, but they couldn't produce evidence to convict.

Talib's problem might be compounded by a previous visit to Goodell's office for a review of conduct — in 2009 when he was accused of hitting a St. Petersburg cab driver and last year after his arrest in this case. Talib was suspended for one game after the 2009 incident even though there wasn't an official finding of guilt (he agreed to a pre-trial diversion program).

In Talib's favor: Last year's incident occurred during the NFL lockout, when a collective bargaining agreement was not in place. That could be grounds for contesting Goodell's authority.

The players union's ongoing fight over the discipline handed down in the Saints' "Bounty-gate" scandal — which has created a debate over Goodell's unilateral ability to hand down discipline — could also help Talib.

Leaf must undergo drug treatment

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was sentenced to nine months of lockdown addiction treatment followed by time in a prerelease center after pleading guilty last month to breaking into a house and illegally possessing painkillers. District Judge Kenneth Neill of Great Falls sentenced Leaf to seven years with the Department of Corrections, with two years suspended.

BOUNTY CASE: Former Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove denied it was his voice saying "Give me the money" on a video clip used as evidence in the league's investigation into the team's alleged bounty scheme. "It wasn't me," Hargrove said in a statement outside league headquarters. "That's right. The NFL got their evidence all wrong." Hargrove, now with the Packers, has been suspended eight games. Also, the office of Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said he and Goodell will meet for about 15 minutes today on the bounty case, then appear together at a news conference.

TEBOW HONOR: Tim Tebow won the 2011 Good Guy Award given by the Professional Football Writers of America, an honor presented for qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs.

COLTS: Running back Mewelde Moore signed after four seasons with the Steelers.

TITANS: Safety Michael Griffin agreed to a five-year extension reportedly worth up to $36 million, with $15 million guaranteed. He was tagged as the franchise player in March.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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