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Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib not disciplined for hitting Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen

TAMPA — Likely to the dismay of Panthers coach John Fox, Bucs CB Aqib Talib was not fined or otherwise disciplined by the NFL for a hit the Panthers say likely left QB Jimmy Clausen with a concussion.

Clausen was attempting a quarterback sneak late in Sunday's game when Talib jumped into the pile and appeared to strike Clausen in the head with his helmet. Talib was not penalized on the play.

When Fox announced the following day that Clausen had a concussion, he said the team would send the film to the league office for review.

Clausen is expected to miss Sunday's game against the Ravens because of the concussion.

"It could have been any number of plays, but there's a chance it could have happened on the last play," Fox said of the injury.

Legal or not, Talib's hit drew the ire of Carolina WR Steve Smith, who engaged Talib in a shoving match after the play. Smith said he would defend his quarterback in such a manner "100 times out of 100," the Charlotte Observer reported.

Smith was not fined, either, an NFL spokesman said.

Well-earned: 49ers QB Troy Smith has been backed fully by coach Mike Singletary after two solid performances in his first two starts. That confidence, Smith said, goes a long way.

"It does matter," he said. " … The confidence that they show you and (them) constantly letting you know that they believe in you, I think that (helps) your psyche stepping into any situation. … As a man, that's really all you want. It's very, very uplifting."

Smith has thrown for 552 yards and two touchdowns in wins over the Broncos and Rams, with a combined rating of 116.6.

He got his chance because Alex Smith was injured, but Troy has earned the right to keep the job. And it's clear the former Heisman Trophy winner has come a long way since the rocky start to his career in Baltimore, where he lost his chance to start to Joe Flacco after an illness. Flacco never relinquished the job.

"I've been through a lot in these short years," he said. "We all have adversity, and we all have adverse situations that we go through. You just have to be able to maintain and continue to have a positive outlook on life."

Moore out: Bucs starting LDE Kyle Moore will miss his second consecutive game with a shoulder injury, giving way to backup Tim Crowder again. Moore's injury has been lingering for several weeks.

FB Earnest Graham will likely return after a three-week absence related to a hamstring injury and his mother's death. He is listed as probable, as is TE Kellen Winslow (knee).

LB Quincy Black (ankle), DT Ryan Sims (knee/toe), WR Sammie Stroughter (foot) and RT Jeremy Trueblood (knee) are listed as questionable.

Meanwhile, 49ers K Joe Nedney (right knee) and T Joe Staley (fibula) are out. CB William James (concussion) is doubtful, and CB Nate Clements (quadriceps), RB Frank Gore (foot) and T Adam Snyder (shoulder) are probable.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib not disciplined for hitting Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen 11/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 20, 2010 12:42am]
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