Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aqib Talib’s Case Dismissed, Now Awaits Possible Suspension
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had one of their best offseasons in franchise history in 2012, but up until now, there has been one last pending piece to that puzzle. Bucs fans have been counting down the days until star cornerback Aqib Talib’s court case, which was scheduled for June 25th, to see if their stud defensive back would be wearing pewter and red or an orange jumpsuit in 2012.
Talib’s lawyer Frank Perez has informed Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times that those charges for assault with a deadly weapon were dismissed Monday.
The case, which was rescheduled from March of 2012, was in connection to the accusation that Talib, and his mother, fired gunshots at his sister’s ex-boyfriend in Texas last year. The charges could hold up up to twenty years of jail time if convicted. Talib’s lawyer Perez stated that the Dallas County prosecutors reviewed the case carefully and decided to dismiss the case since insufficient, credible evidence was presented. Perez told Stroud, “the chief complainant is a repeat child molester and has prior cases of the same nature”. That chief witness is currently serving time in a Dallas county jail for that reason.
Although the charges were dismissed, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can still hand down a suspension for Talib. He suspended Talib one game in 2010 for Talib’s assault on a cab driver after training camp of that year. Goodell has made it clear that he has the authority to suspend players even if criminal charges aren’t filed; Goodell suspended Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger four games for accusations of sexual assault although no criminal charges were filed in that situation.
Since Talib has already been suspended by the league for legal run-ins, another suspension is plausible; however, it is uncertain how deep Goodell will look into the case, since, as you can see above, a credible case was difficult to piece together and there is no real evidence that Talib did any wrongdoing.
Talib would join new free agent pickup Eric Wright and first round draft pick Mark Barron in a revamped Bucs secondary which also sees veteran Ronde Barber moving full-time to safety. Without Talib, the Bucs would have been very thin at cornerback, now that Barber is locked in at safety, with backups CBs E.J. Biggers and Myron Lewis failing to dazzle when given their opportunity. There has also been speculation that Talib will be traded, possibly to former head coach Raheem Morris’s new team (as an assistant), the Washington Redskins, but Talib seems to fit into the Bucs plans now, as they move forward with new Head Coach Greg Schiano.
Schiano has praised Talib’s leadership this offseason with the young defensive backs during OTAs and minicamp, and he has noted Talib’s maturing, buying into the team-oriented system and hustling from drill-to-drill. It has been noted by local media that Talib has shined in these offseason workouts and that he always goes 100% in practice as he looks to prove his on-the-field commitment to the Bucs.
The only question now is whether he’ll be on the field at the start of the 2012 season, and that ball now lies in Roger Goodell’s court.
*photo credit – joebucsfan.com