|Aqib Talib, shown here with Tampa Bay, joined the Patriots on Monday after his suspesnion for performance enhancing drugs was over. (US Presswire)|
The New England Patriots have never had a problem with bringing in players with character issues, but typically Bill Belichick will only roll the dice after meeting with the player and properly vetting the situation. He didn't have that benefit with Aqib Talib.
He entered the situation blind, and he still isn't sure how he feels about it.
“I don't know. The deal has already been made,” Belichick said. “Right now we're looking forward to working with him and trying to get him ready to play.”
Acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a fourth-round pick, Talib didn't speak with Belichick before the trigger was pulled on the trade because Talib was still serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for Adderall.
Talib's suspension expired following the Patriots' 37-31 win over the Bills on Sunday, and he was at team facilities for the first time Monday, where he met with the coaching staff and began a crash course on the defensive schemes and terminology.
The Patriots released linebacker Jeff Tarpinian on Monday afternoon, though the move currently does not appear to be immediately related to Talib's situation since the Patriots received a roster exemption for the cornerback that expires next week.
The Patriots rank 29th in the league with 285 passing yards allowed per game, and they have allowed a league-worst 47 passing plays of 20 or more yards. The hope is that Talib's presence will shore up some of those issues and allow Devin McCourty to permanently move to safety.
“We look forward to [getting him out there]. Wednesday we'll get to get out there and practice and he'll be a part of the team,” McCourty said. “It will be a big week for us, a big game against the Colts, so just to get another guy out there that you know is a good player, it will be exciting.”