Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib said Monday he loved being a Patriot, but he’s far from knowing whether he’s going to stay a Patriot.
The cornerback who was acquired in exchange for a fourth-round pick is headed to unrestricted free agency, and he said it was simply too soon to know where that might lead.
“I’m not really worried about all that right now,” Talib said, via Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com. “Like you said, the game was 12 hours ago. I’m in the training room with the guys, we’re having fun right now.
“I’m still a Patriot. Free agency doesn’t start ’til March, so until then I’m still a Patriot and just enjoying my time.”
Asked if his preference was to return, Talib replied: “That’s the business side of the business. I definitely enjoyed being a Patriot.”
“Man, I had a lot of fun here man. Definitely enjoyed my time here, we’ll see what happens in the future, but I definitely had the most fun I’ve had playing football in a long time here.”
Likewise, Patriots coach Bill Belichick wasn’t ready to touch that topic.
“All the things I said about Aqib, I meant and I still feel that way,” Belichick said. “Nothing has changed, but I can’t put into place an entire plan for the team at this point in time. There’s just not enough information; it’s too early.
“And again, as I said, I don’t think you can, as much as you want to just go case by case and list each guy and what his deal is, I think that there is some of that, no question — but at the same time, when you’re trying to put together a team, you’ve got to look at the entire team before you just say, ‘OK, well, we want to try to keep this guy. Well, we don’t want to keep this guy’ or ‘We want to try to get somebody else,’ or whatever. You’ve got to look at the entire context of the team and not just take it one guy, piece by piece. I don’t think that’s the way you put together an entire football team. You’ve got to see the big picture and how it all fits together and there are a lot of factors that go into that. That’s why it takes some time.”
Losing Talib to what was announced as a thigh injury last night underscored what was evident before they acquired him in midseason. If not Talib, the Patriots are going to have to invest with someone like him, or at least someone with his physical skills and not the off-field questions.