Kellen Winslow believes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can contend for the Super Bowl championship next season. To do so, however, they'll need to keep Aqib Talib, even after the cornerback's latest legal trouble.
"We need that guy to win," Winslow told NFL.com on Friday. "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.
That situation is an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge that Talib faces in Garland, Texas. 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 last week.
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 defensed and six picks, one returned for a touchdown.
That has led to support from Winslow and five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Ronde Barber who called Talib "a great teammate" in a recent interview with PewterReport.com.