Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano admitted Thursday that he's concerned about cornerback Aqib Talib's June 25 trial, but adds the team will not be caught flat-footed if Talib is found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon in Dallas County, Texas.
"Well, any time you have a guy where there's an off-the-field situation that could affect his on-the-field situation, you're concerned,'' Schiano said Thursday, via the Tampa Bay Times. "The thing that I can tell you is since I arrived here January 26, he's been awesome. The way he's worked, he's been here every day. I hope that it's left behind him and there isn't anything and that we can move forward because, again, I can only judge people since I've been involved.
"I can't stick my head in the sand, as I've said before, but on the other hand ... he's been extremely focused and here, doing everything that we asked. So I'm pleased with that and hope everything can just kind of sort itself out and we can get back to life ... normal situation.''
If found guilty, Talib faces up to 20 years in prison. Even if he wins at trial, Talib is a repeat offender of the league's personal conduct policy and could face a suspension to start the 2012 season. The Buccaneers have braced for life without Talib, signing Eric Wright to a five-year, $37.5 million contract in March. The club could also move Ronde Barber back to cornerback or open up the competition to E.J. Biggers, Myron Lewis and rookie Keith Tandy if Talib is unavailable.
The Buccaneers wrapped up their offseason program on Thursday. Schiano said he'd let the players go early if Donald Penn could field a 40-yard punt, and the 6-foot-4, 305-pound left tackle came through for his teammates.
"We put in quite a bit of work. Itâs been a little warm," wide receiver Vincent Jackson said, adding that Schiano "threw us a bone today" with the punt stunt.
"We were all holding our breath, but he got under it," Jackson said. "He caught it like a grizzly bear and here we are."