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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Kansas City Chiefs today despite missing star cornerback Aqib Talib, but that won't stop them from keeping him on the team after his suspension ends. Talib was suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances, after taking Adderall without a subscription or waiver.
Despite some cries from newspaper writers and fans to cut Aqib Talib, it appears the Bucs have no intention of doing so. Schiano noted that Talib will have a place on this team after his suspension ends. Here's what he said, via Pewter Report's handy press conference transcription:
"He has got the four-week suspension as well chronicled and when he gets back then we go with him. But when he is away I am really, really proud of the way (E.J.) Biggers stepped up and everybody. It is a trickledown effect. You are one guy back in all your sub groups. Guys didn't miss a beat. They went out and played Buccaneer defense. That's really what I am very proud of them. When Aqib's suspension is up I really believe he will work hard and be ready then we will go from there."
Despite Talib's history of off-field problems, there have been consistent reports this year that Talib has truly turned a corner. In fact, he has not gotten in any kind of legal trouble since April of last year. Greg Schiano has been constantly complimentary of the way Talib has practiced and played, and there's every reason to believe that Talib is part of this team's long-term future. The four-game suspension may be a problem right now, but suspensions for performance enhancing drugs are almost never recurring, and certainly not when they're for Adderall.
The Buccaneers will have to make a decision on Talib's future after this season, as this is the final year of his rookie contract. These off-field issues, Talib's somewhat inconsistent play and his four-game suspension will undoubtedly drive down his price, but Talib has been a 'Buccaneer man' since Schiano's arrival. He has played well for the most part, has done everything the Bucs have asked him to do and hasn't gotten in off-field trouble.
If the Bucs want to re-sign him after this season, they will have the opportunity to do so. Given Talib's previous problems, the price tag won't be particularly large. Meanwhile, Talib may be inconsistent at times, he is still a quality starting NFL cornerback. As long as the Buccaneers believe he has turned a corner off the field, I believe he'll be a Buccaneer in the future.