Talented but troubled cornerback Aqib Talib is prepared to attend training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the end of the NFL lockout and is expected to remain with the team for the immediate future -- and most likely throughout the 2011 season.
The Bucs have closely monitored Talib's legal issues -- police in Garland, Texas, charged him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, stemming from a March 21 domestic incident -- but haven't been unable to directly deal with him because of the lockout's non-contact rules.
Soon after Talib's arrest, reports emerged that the Bucs would release him. But according to sources, team hasn't made a decision on the cornerback's future and hasn't set a timetable to do so. There's every expectation that he'll be with the team whenever the 2011 league year begins.
The Bucs haven't made any recent public statements about Talib, instead deciding to wait on decisions by the courts and the NFL before making any determination about whether or not to cut ties with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Talib's trial isn't scheduled until March 2012, and sources with knowledge of the case said the level of evidence and nature of the testimony against the 25-year-old might work in his favor.
Talib, who has dealt with several disciplinary matters in the past, is facing a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. He's out of jail on $25,000 bond.
The cloudy nature of the lockout makes it even less likely that the Bucs or the league will take any immediate action against Talib, who has 15 interceptions in three NFL seasons.
NFL owners and players, through their negotiations on a new labor deal, are working on issues related to the powers of the Commissioner in regards to off-the-field matters. There's also a debate as to what domain, if any, the league will have in regard to incidents that occurred during the lockout.
By and large, the league has waited for the legal process to resolve itself in any disciplinary matter before enacting a fine or a suspension. So barring something unforeseen, look for Talib, who was a part of the Bucs' player-run workouts earlier this offseason, to be with the team when training camp eventually opens.
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