The lawyer for Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib, who was indicted on an aggravated assault weapon charge for a March incident in Texas, told the St. Petersburg Times the case likely won't be resolved until after the 2011 season unless there is a plea agreement or dismissal.
"Right now, if I requested a trial, it would be late November at the earliest and most likely it would be next year," Perez told the Times on Saturday.
Police say Talib fired a gun at and pistol-whipped his sister's boyfriend during a March 21 domestic dispute, and a Dallas County grand jury handed down an indictment in late May. The second-degree felony is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison.
The Times reports that Perez has had several meetings with the Dallas County district attorney and another announcement hearing is scheduled June 30, at which point he says he will present evidence that is "favorable" to Talib and ask to either set a trial or have the charges dismissed.
"I don't like the case if I'm the district attorney," Perez said. "We feel very, very strongly Aqib is going to prevail in this. There's nothing to this case. I can't tell you now, but I'm confident we've got something that's going to turn the tide of public opinion."
It's not the first time that Talib, who's free on $25,000 bond, has been in trouble. He was involved in a fight with fellow Bucs rookie Cory Boyd at the 2008 NFL Rookie Symposium, hit teammate Torrie Cox in the face with his helmet while scuffling with Donald Penn during a minicamp workout in May 2009, and was charged with simple battery and resisting arrest in connection with an assault on a taxi driver in Tampa in August 2009.
But Talib, a starter since the Bucs took him in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, has done well on the field, intercepting 15 passes in his three NFL seasons. He's coming off a fine 2010 campaign in which he had 50 tackles, 11 passes defended and six picks, one returned for a touchdown.
The troubled cornerback has received support from teammates, include fellow cornerback Ronde Barber and tight end Kellen Winslow.
"We need that guy to win," Winslow told NFL.com during a June 3 visit. "Talking about Super Bowls -- we need him really more than anyone besides (quarterback Josh) Freeman. He's that good. He locks down receivers. He's got to iron out what he's got to iron out, but we need him as much as anybody."
The tight end reiterated that point a few hours later on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access," saying Talib is "too talented to let go" and citing the cornerback's close relationship with Bucs coach Raheem Morris as a reason he might stay, despite speculation that the team is ready to cut ties after the lockout ends.
"Hopefully his situation gets worked out, and we can move on," Winslow said.