Last week, Aqib Talib couldn't resist throwing a veiled insult at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "I've been in the NFL since '08," he told the Boston Herald. "But I've really been in the NFL since November of 2012."
Aqib Talib apparently loves it in New England. He's talked about the environment there before, calling it "football heaven". And sure, the Buccaneers haven't exactly been a winning environment. He didn't get to the playoffs once with the Buccaneers. But you know why he wasn't in the NFL until November 2012? Because he didn't start acting like it until then.
Oh sure, both the Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano regimes both had their issues and the Bucs weren't exactly winning teams during his tenure in the NFL. But can we really call the team run by Jon Gruden and the defense run by Monte Kiffin in Aqib Talib's rookie year "not the NFL"?
See, the issue with Talib was never that he lacked talent. It wasn't even that he was bad on the field, although he would have a few too many lapses per game to be considered a truly top-notch cornerback. No, the issue with Talib was always a lack of professionalism off the field on his part. Slugging cab drivers, fighting at the rookie symposium, swinging your helmet at teammates and a four-game suspension for Adderall -- those things you can't exactly blame on the Bucs.
Those issues were why the Buccaneers decided that they weren't going to re-sign him after the 2012 season. Those issues were why they decided that a fourth-round pick from the New England Patriots was worth more to them than the eight games Talib had left on his contract. And yes, that was a good decision -- apparently for both parties, as he appears to be happy in New England.
Good for him. I'm happy that he's found a way to be a lot more productive in a different environment. I'd be a lot more happy if he didn't throw insults at the Bucs, though. If instead he'd talk about the mistakes he made in the NFL, and how he learned from them. If he talked about what he did to create his own problems in the NFL. If he talked about what he is doing differently now.
I'm happy about one other thing: the fact that I won't have to listen to him for another six months. Because his team lost yesterday.