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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Schiano: 'Trust us' on decision to bring back Talib

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 05:27 PM
TAMPA -

Suspended cornerback Aqib Talib will be welcomed back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if he is reinstated by the National Football League next month, coach Greg Schiano said Monday.

On Saturday, the five-year veteran was suspended without pay for four games after violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Talib, 26, will be eligible to return for the Nov. 11 home game against San Diego.

"He's going to be back with us,'' Schiano said. "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.''

Since Schiano replaced Raheem Morris in January, the Bucs have jettisoned several veteran players, including tight end Kellen Winslow, safety Tanard Jackson and defensive tackle Brian Price.

Schiano was asked how he could reconcile giving Talib, who has been troubled by several off-field incidents in recent years, another chance with the Bucs.

"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.''

Talib, tested positive for Adderall, which he said in a team statement he took in pill form at the beginning of training camp and obtained without a prescription. He did not appeal the suspension.

In 2010, Talib was charged with simple battery after police said he punched a cab driver in St. Petersburg. Talib reached a civil settlement with the cab driver, but was suspended for the season-opening game by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the league's conduct policy.

In 2011, Talib was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after police in Garland, Texas, said he fired a gun and pistol whipped his sister's boyfriend during an incident outside his sister's home. The charge was later dropped by Dallas County prosecutors.

Talib, 26, is in the final season of his five-year rookie contract and could be an unrestricted free agent in 2013.

A first-round draft pick out of Kansas in 2008, Talib has 45 career starts with 18 interceptions and 209 tackles. This season, he has one interception, 21 tackles and seven pass breakups.

E.J. Biggers replaced Talib as a starter for the win against Kansas City and the Bucs face the NFL's top-rated passing game Sunday when quarterback Drew Brees leads New Orleans into Raymond James Stadium.


ikaufman@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7833 Twitter: IKaufmanTrib

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