Broncos' CB Aqib Talib – Photo by: Getty Images
Aqib Talib’s talent and ability was never doubted in Tampa Bay. Though he battled injuries during his four-year run as a Buccaneer, the 6-foot-1 pro was a true shutdown corner on the field.
Talib defended 54 passes in Tampa, intercepting 18 and taking three back for six – a category in which he recently surpassed former teammate Ronde Barber (8) and tied Deion Sanders in with nine for his career. In short, Talib’s performance was worth the 20th overall pick the Bucs spent on the Kansas product in the 2008 NFL Draft.
It was the off-field stuff that held him back at times and likely cut his career in Tampa Bay short.
From the time of the 2008 rookie symposium, where he was involved in a fistfight with fellow Bucs’ rookie Cory Boyd, Talib ran into legal issues for four years in Tampa. There was an altercation with a cab driver in 2009, a felony warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2011 and a four-game suspension in 2012 for testing positive for Adderall, among other incidents.
Though the charges for the alleged shooting were eventually dropped due to insufficient evidence, there was enough evidence of character issues for the Buccaneers’ organization to send Talib packing.
In November of 2012 he was traded to New England for a fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft.
Since then, Talib, now a Super Bowl Champion and All-Pro cornerback, said he’s matured since his time in Tampa. And that maturation has come mainly with age.
“The biggest thing that changed is I’m 30 years old now,” Talib said over conference call with the Tampa Bay media Wednesday. “I’m a lot older, a lot more mature, a lot more professional, I would say. It’s simply football for me nowadays. I would say that’s the biggest difference, that I’m a lot older.”
Four years have passed, but life since Tampa hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Talib was involved in another shooting just four months ago, this time outside a Dallas strip club where he was shot in the leg. He called the event in June a “scary situation” and considered the possibility that he may never walk again, but said he feels “100 percent” now. Back to football.
While proud of his accomplishments – tied for third all time in pick-sixes (9) and roundly considered an elite cornerback – Talib said if he could’ve done it a little differently in Tampa, he would have.
“I would tell my younger self to start early,” said Talib, who will return to Raymond James this Sunday for the first time since 2012. “Don’t wait till year four or year five to start watching the film and start really being a professional football player. Just start early. Who knows where I could be today if I would’ve started early?”
It all turned out pretty OK for him, though (minus the incident in June). Along with getting a Super Bowl ring last year, Talib has spent three of his last four seasons on a team that made it to the AFC Championship game while being a part of some of the best defenses in the NFL.
He always knew individual success. Now he knows what it takes for a team to have success, or, as it has been said around One Buc Place recently, a “winning culture.”
“I think it starts at the top,” Talib said. “Just treating your organization like it’s first class, from the way we travel to the food we eat, and people that you have – the in-house chiropractor and the in-house massage therapist.
“I think it starts like that, and then it trickles down to the players. It’s having the right group of guys, and the right veteran group of guys who can coach on the field – having the right group of player coaches. I think the Broncos and the Patriots definitely did a good job of having that veteran leadership in the building.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
I always thought we gave up on Bennett, Talib and Blount too quickly. Both are good enough and behave well enough for their respective upper echelon teams, while here in Bucville, we seek are now seeking players with a bit of ‘tude to change the culture. Who knows, maybe ASJ will join this list of the ones that got away.
ASJ will be one that got away.
Scubog, ASj very well may end up on this list but he left the Bucs with very little recourse to do anything else.
Already Koetter has insinuated the team tried to get ASJ help but he was having no part of it.
This is often the case with alcoholics, I know first hand. They live in a state of illusion due to the affects of alcohol on their brains.
As for Blount, everyone seems to conveniently forget the Steelers cut him for the same reason the Bucs did and when he was a FA this year, no one wanted him except the Patriots. What does that tell you.
As for Bennett, I don’t think he was given up on.
I asked Dominick one day when he was on NFL Sirrus what the deal was and who was responsible for his loss.
Of course Dominick was very diplomatic since he still wants a job in any NFL front office, but he essentially said he wanted to keep Bennett but was outvoted and it was a team decision.
That meant it was Schiano and someone in the Glazer family who helped show him the door.
I believe Schiano got his panties in a twist about Bennett because after the Redskins loss, Bennett said the coaching staff was essentially calling the wrong line rushes in order to prevent RG III’s scrambling which was what won the game.
Of course money was also involved but Bennett was really willing to stay for a mere 3.5 million prove it one year deal.
So because of that pettiness, we got stuck with Dequawn Bowers instead of Bennett.
Yes someone(s) doesn’t know what they are doing. If we have a losing season I see another emotional over reaction (losers habit) with the firing of Kotter and Smith. That would be really really dumb but in line with the loser mindset.
Scubog, I agree. Bennett for sure was given up on too soon.
Talib possibly but at the time without a crystal ball how would you know? He wasn’t helping us much because he wasn’t on the field much. Not just suspensions he had injuries from partying all the time too I think.
Blount was stupid thug and average RB. He got little better with his style in N.E. I remember him dancing behind the line when Shiano was coach and he absolutely could not pick up any 4th and 1 or 3rd and 1. Could not do it. He had to have head of steam and big hole to do anything. He’s better now about hitting hole quicker but still average. Total thug piece of crap too.
I honestly don’t consider Blount a big loss at all we have Doug and Chuck who are both better than Blount
Maybe if you add them together this year.
yes Sims on his own hasn’t been good at all
There is a rotten apple at the core of the management of the bucs. It’s very weak. Probably due to not knowing what they are doing mixed with being politically correct whupped. This franchise has become a global embarrassment in terms of futility since they very erroneously, emotionally blew up the team in 2009. I’m sure you all can contribute to the ever growing list of blunders.
We get great pics. Ruin them with bumbling incompetency. Surround them with unprofessionalism. Then something happens to some and we get rid of them and they become stars elsewhere. Or others strive for excellence but the crabs in the boiling pot try to keep pulling back in to their loserism, but finally escape elsewhere. And i had to live in Cleveland for several years back when as well.
So what is it? Does the city ruin teams? Well we’ve had some successes certainly. Where is the missing link?? Where is the bad apple?
Goodness i just had a flash back of poor Josh Freeman. The bucs destroyed that kid. If he was in a professional organization I think even Josh would doing very well still.
Raheem had one stroke of genius: He set ONE goal for the entire team: 10 wins. They focused on that ONE goal. And what happened…. they won 10 games! It was awesome.
But then they all started drinking multiple nights per week (even with ownership i hear (717 ahem..) and getting wild. (and what kind of serious athlete even drinks?! What a joke. But the biggest mistake of Raheem in my opinion: He didn’t set the ONE goal of 11 wins the following year for and with his team and focus on it. So they got lost, aimless and the rest was history. Raheem that is why you failed – well besides the drinking, you simply didn’t set it for 11 and sell your team on it the next year. Wow. Small things matter big.
BucFury, you sould like a glass half full type of guy to me.
I have never heard such cynicism or negativity in two posts in my entire readership out here that match yours.
I agree with you to a point about some of management, especially the scouting department. But a lot has been done to correct that situation. The jury is still out on whether the right or enough corrective action was taken.
But when you start babbling on about Josh Freeman, you are completely showing how ill informed and prejudiced you are against the Bucs.
Freeman has on one to blame about his failures other than himself.
Schiano even had an offensive system installed to play to Freeman’s strengths.
Once again I base my opinion on not only what I saw on the field, but in Freeman’s actions and the opinion of the man who drafted Freeman and put his future in his success.
Once again I asked Mark Dominick about the entire Freeman fiasco when he was on NFL Sirrus, telling him bluntly I thought he or someone from the Bucs organization owed the season ticket holders an explanation since we invest heavily every year in the team.
Domick, being the professional, was as diplomatic as possible but it essentialy came down to this: Freeman didn’t want to put in either the time or the effort to be an NFL QB.
This was probably because he was known to party in the south Tampa bars until late in the morning. Remind you of anyone.
I also asked the Sports Babe one time on her radio show about Freeman and she offered up the fact that yes. you are right, coach Raheem Morris used to party and hang with Freeman at after hour clubs.
But in all seriousness do you really think someone in upper Bucs management was out getting liquored up with Freeman.
The only other people higher in the organization than Morris would have been Mark Dominick or one of the Glazers and they really don’t strike me as the hard partying type of guys.
Freeman was given a chance by both Schiano and Dominick to change his ways but he thought his pure athletic skills and abilities would be enough on Sunday.
I still won’t forget the time when Freeman, who had been in the league for four years, couldn’t call an audible during three straight plays which we were hit with delay of game penalties on, because the headset had gone off.
Of course it’s hard to think of anything when your suffering through a Grey Goose hangover.
Please, until you show a little more intelligence about matters, why don’t you go post on that board whose name is similar to Joe The Plumber.
I think you will find their posters on the same IQ level as yours.
I always liked the Fabulous Sports Babe. Got to meet her once and share a meal. She’s a fellow University of Tampa alum which gives her tremendous credibility with me.
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