Bucs' Talib misses practice after being jailed for incident with taxi driver

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib was held out of practice Thursday after police say he punched a taxi driver and was jailed on charges of simple battery and resisting arrest without violence.

The Bucs said they wouldn't suspend Talib, a second-year pro who fought with a teammate during last year's NFL rookie symposium and then had another confrontation with a teammate this offseason. Instead, the team referred the matter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Age: 23

Height: 6-1  Weight: 205

College: Kansas

Experience: 2nd season

"It's unfortunate, certainly, what happened last night," new Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said. "I've been in contact with the league office. This falls under the personal-conduct policy. Certainly whatever decision's made, the commissioner's decision supersedes anything the club does at this time."

Talib posted $300 bail early Thursday. A Florida Highway Patrol arrest report said the 23-year-old punched a cab driver in the neck and ear after he picked up Talib and two other men outside a St. Petersburg nightclub.

Talib, accompanied by Dominik, walked onto Tampa Bay's practice field about 30 minutes into an afternoon workout, but he didn't participate in drills. He left before the end of the session and wasn't available for comment.

"Obviously you're concerned, obviously you're disappointed," first-year Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. "The real deal of the matter is it's a league issue. ... You have to let it go through due process."

Morris said Talib didn't practice for "obvious reasons," though the cornerback is expected to play in Saturday night's preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"Right now all I can do is mentor and help him, get him going the right way," Morris said. "Make sure stuff like this doesn't happen to him again."

Shortly after being drafted by the Bucs, Talib clashed with then-teammate Cory Boyd at the rookie symposium.

In May, Talib apologized for letting emotions get the best of him and swinging a helmet at offensive tackle Donald Penn and accidentally striking cornerback Torrie Cox instead during an offseason workout. Cox, who was acting as a peacemaker, was cut on the face and received stitches. Morris said at the time that the matter would be handled internally, though Talib said the entire team ran as punishment.

"We're trying to help him," Dominik said. "It may not seem like it's working, but we're going to continue to work with him. If he needs counseling, he's going to get counseling. We're going to work and try to catch his attention."

Talib's arrest was the second jolt to the Bucs' defense in the last three days. On Tuesday, starting free safety Tanard Jackson received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

"We've got to make better decisions," Morris said. "It's up to those guys to make those decisions.

"We've got 78 guys doing it right. You've got to coach the 78 guys who are doing the right things, we've got to believe in the 78 guys that are doing the right things, and (Talib and Jackson) have got to go out there and do the right things."

Asked what it will take to get through to Talib, who the Bucs are counting on to be a major contributor in a revamped defense, Morris replied "continued growth" on the young player's part.

"He has to age every day, get better every day," Morris said. "He goes a long time doing the right thing, then he messes up. We have to see what's going on.

"You've got a young man trying to do the right thing putting himself in a cab. He obviously made a bad decision once he did that. So he's made steps. He's made progress. But we've got to finish this thing off. That's up to me and him to get together and figure out how to do it."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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