By Josh Katzowitz
After a nasty offseason following the 2010 season -- an offseason in which he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was indicted on that charge before blaming his mother -- the Buccaneers welcomed Aqib Talib back to the team for 2011.
Considering Talib hasn’t shown the ability to stay out of trouble during his career, it was a surprise that he wasn’t suspended for the alleged incident that occurred in Garland, Tx. It wasn’t, however, surprising that Talib played well for the Buccaneers, because, simply put, he’s a talented cornerback -- probably one of the 10-best in the league.
And most likely because of that talent, new Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano has decided Talib will start with a clean slate.
"I had a great meeting with him and we just kind of talked about life for a little bit,'' Schiano said, via the Tampa Bay Times. "I know there’s been some things in the past. But at the end of the day, the legal stuff that’s going on right now, hopefully that will get resolved. He tells me it will.
"Then from there, we’re just going to go. Every guy on this football team will know our expectations. There won’t be any, ‘Well, I thoughts.’ I think most of the time, frustration comes out as the result of unfulfilled expectations, my frustration and theirs. So if you make the expectations clear, then discipline really isn’t discipline, it’s a choice. You knew if you did this, everything is cool and if you don’t, there’s going to be consequences. That, to me, is not that complicated. But you have to make sure you’re very, very clear on what it is your expectations are.”
Talib is lucky to be in this position, considering former Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris basically talked general manager Mark Dominik out of releasing Talib before last season began.
But with a new regime, Talib will get yet another chance. Of course, he still has to worry about the actual trial, which is set to begin in March. Talib told Schiano that he’s confident he’ll get a positive outcome from the trial.
For now, Schiano apparently is inclined to believe him. And inclined to believe that the risk of employing Talib will be less than the reward that could come.
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