FOXBOROUGH (AP) — The New England Patriots have obtained cornerback Aqib Talib for their shaky secondary from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Talib will be eligible to play in the Patriots’ next game on Nov. 11 after serving a four-game NFL suspension without pay for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The Patriots acquired on Thursday the former first-round draft pick and a seventh-rounder next year for their fourth-round choice in 2013.
New England (5-3) has allowed the fifth most yards passing in the NFL as it enters its bye week. It resumes play at home against the Buffalo Bills.
Talib, the 20th overall pick in the 2008 draft out of Kansas, has 18 career interceptions. He sat out the last four games when he decided not to appeal the suspension.
He claimed he was using the drug Adderall without a prescription.
Talib appeared in four games for the Buccaneers this season and had 21 tackles and one interception. He is eligible for free agency after the season.
Listed at 6 feet 1 inch, 205 pounds, Talib was the 20th overall pick in 2008 out of Kansas. In his 58-game career with Tampa Bay, he had 53 pass breakups and 18 interceptions, three of which were returned for a touchdown.
Having Talib may allow Devin McCourty to remain at safety, a switch the Patriots wanted to make at the start of the season but were hesitant about because of concerns at the corner position.
There is little doubt that Talib is talented. But he also has a long list of off-field issues in the NFL, which began not long after he was drafted; at the 2008 rookie symposium, he got into a fistfight with teammate Cory Boyd. He has since been arrested for resisting arrest without violence and simple battery after an alleged incident with a taxi driver.
That led to his first NFL suspension, for violating the league’s conduct policy. He wasn’t allowed to play in Tampa Bay’s 2010 season opener and was docked an additional paycheck.
In March 2011, police in his native Texas issued a felony warrant for Talib — he was wanted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly pistol-whipped and shot at his sister’s boyfriend, Shannon Billings. He was released on $25,000 bond and was indicted two months later. But earlier this year, the charges were dropped because of insufficient evidence and character concerns about Billings — at the time, Billings was in jail as a repeat sex offender.
During his Tampa Bay tenure, Talib also hit a teammate with a helmet and nearly had a physical altercation with an official.
Talib began serving his suspension Oct. 14 and missed the Buccaneers’ last three games. With the Patriots having their bye this week, Talib must sit out New England’s Nov. 11 game with Buffalo before being eligible to make his Patriots debut Nov. 18 against Indianapolis.
At the time of his suspension, Talib released a statement through the Buccaneers.
“Around the beginning of training camp, I made a mistake by taking an Adderall pill without a prescription. This is especially regrettable because, for the past several months, with Coach [Greg] Schiano’s help, I’ve worked very hard to improve myself — professionally and personally — as a player and a man. I am truly sorry to my teammates, coaches and Buccaneers fans, and I’m disappointed in myself. I will work diligently every day of this suspension to stay in top football shape and be ready to help this team in the second half of the season. I have chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation I put myself in, which is why I will not exercise my appeal rights and will begin serving the suspension immediately.”