Buccaneers CB Aqib Talib addressed the media regarding his meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York on Tuesday, but did not offer up any details. The Bucs are bracing for Talib, who was arrested on aggravated assault charges this offseason, to be suspended.
Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib discussed his meeting on Tuesday in New York with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but didn’t disclose any specifics, unlike Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt, who also met with Goodell to discuss his offseason arrest but chose to offer up details of the meeting to the media.
“I met with the commissioner, but will keep all the details between me and the commissioner if you all can respect that,” Talib politely told reporters four times when asked about specifics of the conversation.
Talib was meeting with Goodell at the NFL’s headquarters to discuss his offseason arrest and aggravated assault charge in Texas for allegedly attempting to pistol whip his sister’s boyfriend, who had reportedly been abusing her. Shots were also fired at the boyfriend and both Talib and his mother were arrested as a result. Talib has been indicted by a grand jury and is expected to stand trial in March of 2012.
When asked how he is coping with the looming trial and a possible suspension during the 2011 season while trying to prepare to play football, Talib suggested that what he’s going through is no different than the lives of most ordinary people.
“It is life, man,” Talib said. “I am sure you’ve got obstacles in your life that you’ve got to overcome. My life is no different than neither one of yours (the media). Obstacles [and] work – you’ve got to know how to handle it.”
Talib’s meeting with the commissioner was his second within a year. Talib met with Goodell a year ago prior to being suspended for the 2010 season opener against Cleveland for an incident that happened on the last day of training camp in 2009 when he was arrested for punching a cab driver.
The chances of Talib being suspended are quite good given his past transgressions, which have involved getting into a fight at the league’s rookie symposium in 2008 with former teammate Cory Boyd, and an incident in which he swung a helmet at teammate Donald Penn and hit fellow cornerback Torrie Cox in the face during practice. Those instances went unpunished by the league.
When Talib was suspended for the 2010 season opener, he still showed up to the stadium and watched the game from a luxury suite, which violates league rules involving suspended players. The league did not take further action against Talib at the time, but may decide to hold that against him when coupled with his most recent arrest.
There is also precedent for Goodell to suspend players while their legal situations are still pending, even though such actions could subject the league to lawsuits if the respective players are found not guilty of the crimes they have been charged with.
In 2007, Goodell suspended cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones even while his legal woes were still unresolved. The NFL Players Association appealed the suspension based on the fact the charges were still pending and the union wrote a letter to Goodell stating the suspension "violates clearly established principles of employment and labor law and that no player has ever been disciplined by the commissioner for conduct relating to criminal charges while they are pending."
In 2009, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended six games (reduced to four) for violating the league’s personal conduct policy over sexual assault allegations, even though criminal charges were never brought against the quarterback.
While the Bucs are bracing for a suspension and preparing E.J. Biggers to start opposite Ronde Barber in Talib’s place for the season opener against Detroit on September 11, Talib had to do some bracing of his own when the affects of a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Virginia reached New York.
“We felt it a little bit - the aftershock,” Talib said. “The commissioner said we were straight, though, so I wasn’t worried about it.”
Talib, who had a career-high six interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown, in 2010 while missing five games, has been nursing a sore hamstring and missed the first two preseason games. He returned to practice on Wednesday and hopes to play in Saturday’s home preseason contest against Miami.
“Yes, I went through all the plays today,” Talib said. “I came and got into rehab in the cold chair. It felt pretty good so [I] should be able to go.
“Yes, I am trying to get healthy, man. I am just seeing if I can go. I’m trying to just get right, man. I am almost there. I’m trying to get healthy enough to play, though. That is my goal. I’m looking forward to it.”
But whether Talib will be able to play with the Buccaneers, who went 4-1 without him in 2010, once the regular season starts is still for the commissioner to decide.
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