For Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib, there’s good news and bad news as this week’s minicamp concludes.
The good news is that Talib’s new boss, Bucs head coach Greg Schiano, is giving him favorable reviews for his performance. The bad news is that neither Talib, Schiano nor anyone else has any idea if Talib will actually be able to play in Tampa Bay this season, because it’s entirely possible that Talib will be in prison.
Talib is scheduled to go on trial on June 25 in Texas on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Even if Talib isn’t in prison after the trial, anything other than complete exoneration in the case is likely to get Talib suspended by the NFL because he’s a repeat violator of the league’s personal-conduct policy. He was suspended for the first game of the 2010 season for slugging a cab driver.
Schiano acknowledges that that’s a concern.
“Well, any time you have a guy where there’s an off-the-field situation that could affect his on-the-field situation, you’re concerned,” Schiano said, via the Tampa Bay Times.
The flip side, however, is that Schiano says all he really knows about Talib is what he’s seen on the field, and in that respect Schiano is thrilled.
“The thing that I can tell you is since I arrived here Jan. 26, he’s been awesome,” Schiano said. “The way he’s worked, he’s been here every day. I hope that it’s left behind him and there isn’t anything and that we can move forward because, again, I can only judge people since I’ve been involved. I can’t stick my head in the sand, as I’ve said before, but on the other hand . . . he’s been extremely focused and here, doing everything that we asked. So I’m pleased with that and hope everything can just kind of sort itself out.”
Schiano acknowledged that the Bucs have “plans just in case” Talib isn’t on the team this year, but that “I hope like heck we don’t ever have to dust them off.” So while Schiano would prefer not to have any outside distractions, he will have to be keenly interested in the events inside a Texas courtroom in two weeks.