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Trial for Bucs' Aqib Talib moved again, to June 25

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 10:54 PM
TAMPA -

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to wait until nearly two months after the NFL draft to learn of the availability of troubled starting cornerback Aqib Talib.

Talib, who faces a charge of assault with a deadly weapon stemming from a March 2010 shooting incident in Garland, Texas, had his trial date moved on Monday to June 25.

Dallas County Court officials said records show the trial has been moved, though neither court officials nor Talib's attorney, Frank Perez, gave a reason.

"Just trying to ensure we can try the case before the season starts," Perez wrote in an e-mail.

The delay is the second in the past week. Talib was originally slated to go on trial Monday, but a request from the prosecuting attorney, whose wife is expecting a baby, resulted in the trial being moved to April 19, Perez said.

Tampa Bay has the fifth overall pick in the NFL draft, held April 26-28. The team could consider selecting LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with their first pick, but Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said the uncertainty regarding Talib likely will not alter the plans.

"You try not to let your strengths and weaknesses determine who's the best player to take at the time, otherwise you end up reaching," Dominik said during a break at the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach. "Sure, it would be nice to know everything now. Right now, is Aqib Talib on this team? Yes. But part of the reason we have Eric Wright here is to play starting corner for us."

Wright, a starter last season for Detroit, was signed as a free agent. Last week, starting right cornerback Ronde Barber committed to returning for a 16th season, giving the team more options.

"I like Ronde Barber and we don't know what the draft is going to bring," Dominik said. "We also have a bunch of young guys with (Anthony) Gaitor, (Myron) Lewis and (E.J.) Biggers. The smartest thing to do is just to let the draft tackle itself and proceed accordingly, instead of playing ifs and whats games."

Talib, 26, faces the assault charge for his role in an incident outside his sister's home in Garland, Texas in which police say he attempted to pistol-whip and fired shots at his sister's boyfriend. The charge, a second-degree felony, carries a punishment of five to 20 years in prison, police say.

Talib, the team's first-round draft pick in 2008, also faces a possible league suspension.

CAP MONEY: The Bucs have an estimated $16 million left under the salary cap, according to ESPN, but that is not entirely surplus, Dominik said.

"The rookie pool is going to take up quite a bit of that number and we still have players we have to look forward with in terms of wanting to get a long-term deal done, whether it's this year or next year," Dominik said.

One of those players is franchise quarterback Josh Freeman. Dominik said he and head coach Greg Schiano have met with Freeman's father Ron, who serves as Freeman's agent.

"I think we're all excited about the players we've added," Dominik said. "Now it's just a matter of making sure we're smart with what we have left to ensure we keep our money so we can retain our own guys."

NO THANKS, TEBOW: The Bucs never considered acquiring quarterback Tim Tebow, who was traded from the Broncos to the Jets after Denver signed quarterback Peyton Manning.

"There was no discussion," Dominik said. "We have our franchise quarterback. No disrespect to Tim Tebow, but we have confidence in our guy."


Reporter Ira Kaufman contributed to this report.

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