The Buccaneers have given less leash to players with character questions under first-year coach Greg Schiano.
But he said Monday that cornerback Aqib Talib would be welcomed back after his latest misstep, and he sounded like a used car salesman when he said it.
Talib was suspended four games for testing positive for Adderall, which falls under the performance-enhancing drugs policy. He’ll be eligible to return for the Bucs’ Nov. 11 game against the Chargers.
“He’s going to be back with us,” Schiano said, via Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune. “There’s no absolutes in anything in this world – I may not be here when he comes back – but that’s the plan. I can’t tell you exactly how things are going to be a month from now. The plan is to have him back here.”
That means Talib is getting a chance, while Kellen Winslow, Tanard Jackson and Brian Price were sent packing for various reasons.
Talib was charged with battery in 2010 after police said he punched a cab driver, but after reaching a civil settlement (translated: hush money), he was suspended one game for violating the conduct policy.
Then in 2011, he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after police in Texas said he fired a gun and pistol whipped his sister’s boyfriend, though that charge was later dropped.
But Schiano was resolute when asked how he could reconcile giving Talib chances others weren’t getting.
“Every decision that we make as an organization has one thing in mind, and that’s what’s best for the organization,” said Schiano. “When I say best, it’s not just winning. Yes, that’s what you do in this league. There are 32 teams and we’re all chasing one prize.
“But when you’re part of a community, there’s a lot of things that go into a decision. I can just tell our fans and all the people that care about this that we are going to do what’s best for the organization, so you’ve got to just trust us on this one.”
Yes, he played the “trust us” card, on behalf of a repeat offender.
If you’re a skeptic, it’s easy to suspect that Talib’s continued employment is directly related to his ability to help Schiano continue to be employed, to a greater degree than the others were.
But since Schiano said we should trust him, that’s obviously not the case.