Buccaneers to Cut Aqib Talib?

TAMPA- It’s going to be sad ending to a tragic stint in Tampa.

When the Bucs drafted Aqib Talib in 2008, they though they were getting the heir apparent to Ronde Barber’s legacy at the cornerback position. Instead they got a thug who was posing as an NFL player.

After his most recent run in with the law which saw a warrant be issued for his arrest, the Bucs are very much considering cutting Talib the moment the lockout is over. This is according to sources inside and outside the Buccaneers organization.

It’s still just speculation but after this third strike it appears Talib is out. Tampa has had no problem with taking troubled players onboard, but enough is simply enough.

Talib has been in trouble ever since being drafted out of Kansas at the 20th selection of the 2008 NFL Draft. He was involved in a fist fight with fellow Buccaneer Cory Boyd at the rookie symposium.

Strike one.

Then in 2009′ Talib made news by severely beating Tampa taxi cab driver and was subsequently arrested. Tampa chose not to suspend him and give him a second chance, but Roger Goodell decided a suspension of a game was necessary to get the young corners attention.

Strike two.

Apparently Talib didn’t get the memo or the message as he was involved in a shooting incident in Texas after the 2010 season. A warrant was issued for his arrest and he later surrendered to police. With the NFL having bigger fish to fry with the whole lockout ordeal, Talib’s issues have been put on the back burner but they have not been forgotten.

Strike three.

The first issue before what to do with Talib is to adress the elephant in the room: the guy clearly has deep and serious issues. He needs help and before he can be crucified, and I’m not saying he should be, his well being should be dealt with. ESPN’s Ron Jaworski is a strong advocate of Tampa cleaning up Talib rather than cutting him.

But Tampa has tried this for the past three years and it hasn’t worked which raises the dreaded question: should Tampa cut all ties with this distraction.

The guy may need serious help, but the NFL isn’t a rehab clinic, its a business and the business they’re in isn’t the one where you get tp your act cleaned up. Instead you get forgotten and the next guy fills your shoes. Talib’s shoes may be huge shoes to fill, but it appears the Bucs have reached their breaking point.

The tragic part of this is Talib is so extremely talented and you never want to let a player like that go. But as much as the NFL overlooks character issues in lue of talent, there comes a point where the talent is irreversibly overshadowed.

See Pacman Jones for the textbook way to ruin your career this way.

Talib may not be at that point yet, but he is flirting awfully close to the disaster line. As much as it will pain Bucs fans, it’s time to say goodbye to Talib. He will find another home in perhaps Baltimore or Oakland, places where you can literally get away with murder, but Tampa is a young team on the rise and they don’t need Talib weighing them down. The spotlight will be on Tampa this year and the organization will want that spotlight on Josh Freeman and the good, not Talib, Tanard Jackson and the awfully bad.

The number one sign that. The Bucs are moving on will be if they shoot high in the draft for a corner. They’ll be looking anyways as there is a need at the position, but that need got a heck of a lot more huge after Talib’s latest incident.

Tampa needs a replacement for Barber and need a lockdown elite corner for this growing defense. But they don’t need Talib if he’s going to be an off the field distraction.

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  • Liam Feeney

    The bucs might be able to make a superbowl run next season, and without Talib, it isnt possible… Raheem will take one more chance to fix him up because he knows that Talib is essential.

  • Matthew Levanduski

    Fans like you disgust me. All of the facts everyone thought they knew were just the words of a sexual predator. As a matter of fact, there were seventeen witnesses that say Talib never had a gun during the confrontation (including an ex cop). The only guns that were found at the crime scene were Billings and Talib’s sisters. You know it is absurd that Talib’s sister called 911, only to have her phone broken and her face damaged. Police didn’t even bother showing up to see if anything happened, two hours later Talib did. Prosecutors already threw away the felonious charges by the way.

  • DB

    Wait a tick. The headline is “Buccaneers to Cut Aquib Talib.”
    The lede reads, “It’s going to be sad ending to a tragic stint in Tampa,” with “sources” being cited.
    But then, Josh Hill goes on to say the Bucs are only “very much considering cutting Talib the moment the lockout is over.”
    He continues backtracking by classifying cutting Talib as “just speculation.”
    No reputable news source has reported this, and while there’s a chance Talib will be sent packing, the headline is (for now) misleading.
    It’s obvious that Hill wants Talib to hit the bricks, but maybe he should have waited to hit the send button on this story.

  • Sarah

    Dude…there’s a question mark in the title. And writers aren’t supposed to reveal their sources buddy, obviously you don’t understand that unwritten rule. Maybe you should re-read the article carefully it’s pretty unbiased. He actually sounds upset that Talib would care so little about the team and fans that he would do things that could result in him hurting the team.

    We’re all upset Talib might go, but chill out dude.

    • DB

      The question mark wasn’t included in the original post, which read simply “Buccaneers to Cut Aquib Talib.” It has been updated, though no notation was made of the change.

      At any rate, I know enough about the “unwritten rule” to say considerably more credence is given to stories that have been attributed to specific individuals.

      Josh Hill claims that “sources” both with the Bucs and outside of the organization are saying the team is strongly considering cutting ties with Talib. What? None of those people would go on the record for this story? Not one?

      If Hill hasn’t talked directly to anyone and is picking this stuff up from other outlets, then that should be attributed as well.

      I’m sorry, but when an author — particularly on a fan site — cites “sources,” I’m not going to blindly accept it as fact.

      Anyway, as for Hill wanting Talib gone, let’s look at some of the language:

      “Instead they got a thug who was posing as an NFL player.”
      “Enough is simply enough.”
      “It’s time to say goodbye to Talib.”
      “Tampa is a young team on the rise and they don’t need Talib weighing them down.”

      It seems pretty clear from the above statements that Hill does think Talib should go.

      Much of my gripe with this article would have been avoided if the question mark had been included in the original posting. (My previous post explains my issues on that front.)

      If Hill simply forgot to type the question mark, he should say so. A typo is forgivable. Misleading readers with a sensationalized headline is not.

      The entire context of this article truly rides on that one punctuation mark. With it, this is an opinion piece/commentary. Without it, it’s presented as a straight news story.

      It’s a huge event when a Google News search yields “Buccaneers to Cut Aquib Talib.”

      But, for now, that simply isn’t the case.

  • Patrik Nohe

    DB, I’m the editor on this “fan site” and I appreciate your reading it, I should have ultimately changed the headline to include the question mark as soon as I saw this story posted, I didn’t immediately though and I apologize that you were mislead. Oftentimes writers will go with the catchiest headlines they can use, even at the expense of the actual subject matter and aim of the story. Obviously the Buccaneers cannot cut Talib right now, all NFL business is on hold while the lock-out continues. As a result of that, this story can only be speculative as very few teams will legitimately tip their hat several weeks before the draft in regard to whom may or may not be on their roster or in their future plans.

    Whether or not you choose to believe our report is completely up to you. I’m not signing my name to this one personally, as I think the Bucs will probably look at keeping Talib, or at the very least hold off on that decision until things are decided in the courts. However, Josh clearly does feel confident enough to put that point out there and as the editor I respect his opinions (and the previous credibility he has built writing here). But part of our goal as a Buccaneers site is to build the sort of reputation where you will believe us to be accurate. Clearly the onus is on us there, it’s a gradual thing but over the course of the past year I do feel we’ve made strides and certainly do report with a great degree of credibility.

    Finally, a point on sources in general. Oftentimes, a writer doesn’t name sources because most people involved with an organization will only speak anonymously. Sensitive information leaking can cost lower-level front office employees their jobs so it is in no one’s best interest to alienate a potential source by imperiling their employment. Your skepticism is well-merited, and probably smart considering how much misinformation is generated on the internet. But I do ask you to give us an open-mind as we do feel quite confident in our coverage of this team.

  • DB


    Thanks for your measured response. I don’t agree with all of your points, but you delivered them in a measured tone that’s often lacking on the Internet. So, at least we’re being civil.

    A couple of things, if I may: Your response, polite though it was, really raised some red flags for me.

    First you say, “Oftentimes writers will go with the catchiest headlines they can use, even at the expense of the actual subject matter and aim of the story.”

    Well, that’s not good. The headline is part of the story package. It’s the headline. Sure, they can twisted into contorted puns, but they should never, ever be purposefully misleading.

    If readers can’t trust reporters and writers on the headline, why would they trust them in the lede, the nutgraph and even the boilerplate?

    And why, why, why would they trust a writer who overcooks the headline and then makes really bold claims backed up only by “sources?” (More on those in a sec.)

    As for not changing the headline immediately, I mean, people get busy. I understand that. You can’t do everything at once. I do believe afterward that you should have at least noted the change, perhaps at the end of the story, to clear up any confusion. (And put a sock in Sarah. Haha. I kid.)

    Then there’s this: “I’m not signing my name to this one personally, as I think the Bucs will probably look at keeping Talib, or at the very least hold off on that decision until things are decided in the courts. However, Josh clearly does feel confident enough to put that point out there and as the editor I respect his opinions (and the previous credibility he has built writing here).”

    In the first sentence, you sort of throw Josh under the bus and make it seem like you’re not on board with his story. (But as editor, you do sign off on everything that runs. That’s comes with being on top of the masthead.)

    Anyway, you come around (but not before basically saying you’re not totally convinced by the story), and conclude that you’re OK with it because Josh was, “confident enough to put that point out there and as the editor I respect his opinions.”

    Now, I have a question. (And this may well clear up everything we have going on.) Do you see this piece as an opinion column/commentary or as actual reporting?

    If it’s the former, your writer has a great deal of leeway to, you know, give his opinion. If it’s the latter, then this story is a mess on many, many levels.

    As for sources, I realize that it’s necessary sometimes to withhold names. All the big guns do it. (Mort and Schefter have their fancy “league sources.”) But anonymity should be granted as a last resort.

    Every reputable news organization has a sourcing policy that is usually pretty strict. It makes people accountable — and builds the trust that you spoke about fashioning.

    Anyway, I’m a huge Bucs fan who is always looking for the latest team news. Hopefully your site will become one of my regular stops.

    • Patrik Nohe

      Thanks for your response, just a few points in return. First of all, my role as editor here is a little bit different than that role would be at a newspaper or major news outlets. As we are not centralized, and because it’s rather cumbersome, my writers don’t have to submit the story before posting it. After they make it through their probationary period (and prove trustworthy) I allow them to advance any opinion or sentiment they have regarding the team so long as it’s done without swearing and in the most professional way possible. I will subsequently come in and make any adjustments needed, but from a content standpoint I typically try to give my staff as much leeway as possible. The point about the headlines is something I should have stepped in earlier and fixed, I take personal responsibility for that, but I also don’t blame a writer for wanting to get his story read by as many people as possible either. But once again, that shouldn’t come at the expense of the point or message of the post.

      As per being opinion or news, at this point this story can only be opinion because even if that is the plan, the Bucs can’t pull the trigger on cutting him yet and would never publicly confirm or deny the decision at this stage anyway. My point in saying I don’t sign my name to this one was never to throw Josh under the bus but rather to say I haven’t heard or read anything which would confirm that point to me with a great enough level of credibility that I would post it, personally. But clearly Josh, whom I also trust, does feel strongly enough based on his information. He also does present the point as speculatory within the post, it’s really just the headline which was misleading. In the future, that will be something that is addressed with the staff, not blurring the line between news and opinion but that sort of discussion is always had in-house.

      Lastly, I will just say regarding sources that while it’s a little easier for newspapers to have sourcing policies which attempt to safeguard accountability as well as their sources, as a sports blog we are precariously positioned within the sporting world. Most athletes, agents and team personnel are already wary of talking with us at any level, especially on sensitive matters. We really have to work hard and be persistent to get any sort of access (though that should hopefully change before next season, something we’ll announce later this summer). In honesty, the only reason a lot of them even talk to the media is it’s required by the NFL. That’s why any time one of us gains that sort of access we go as far out of our way as possible to protect that relationship. I talk to several people associated with the Buccaneers, but even to indicate their level and the roles they have with the team could endanger their jobs or put them in an unenviable position. It would also do little to engender good will from any of them.

      Again, thanks for reading and I hope you will find over time that we do work extremely hard to be credible and provide great Bucs coverage.