Aqib Talib is preparing for a new NFL season without the dark cloud of a criminal trial hanging over his head.
It's a welcome reality for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback, who had been accused of firing a gun at his sister's boyfriend during a 2011 dispute. It was announced last week that Talib won't face charges in connection with the incident.
"It was killing me, man," Talib told the Tampa Bay Times. "It was a bad situation where a guy had to say a couple lies to try to put an extra couple dollars in his pocket. But it was killing me, man. It was just a bad situation, and I'm just glad it's behind me."
"Clean slate, clean start," Talib said. "I'm just (looking) forward from now on."
Talib isn't completely out of the woods just yet. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said last week the league office plans to review the case. According to Talib's lawyer, the NFL requested a copy of the dismissal order, which is on file with the criminal district court.
The league's personal-conduct policy has long tentacles, and a player can be suspended or fined for an incident even when no criminal charges are filed.
(Ben Roethlisberger nods his head grimly.)