Former Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib officially announced his retirement after 10 years in the NFL. Talib earned 5 Pro Bowl and 2 All-Pro selections. He won Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos. Talib will start his retirement by entering the media world with his new show “Call to the Booth” with Harrison Sanford, where he announced that his playing days are over on Wednesday.
The Patriots secondary struggled for years prior to the 2012 season. Their cornerbacks included Devin McCourty, Sterling Moore, Antwaun Molden, and Leigh Bodden in 2011. Julian Edelman played cornerback for 9.3% of the team’s defensive plays through the year, including 27 snaps on defense in the 2012 AFC Championship against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Patriots acquired Talib and a 2013 seventh-round pick from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a 2013 fourth-round pick on November 1st, 2012. He tested positive for Adderall and admitted to taking it without a prescription before the season started. As a result, Talib served a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Once he was able to get on the field, Talib proved to be a reliable defensive back. He recorded a pick-six in his first game with New England against the Indianapolis Colts in a 59-24 Week 11 victory. Talib finished his first year in New England with 40 tackles, 10 pass deflections, and an interception. The Patriots went on to lose the 2013 AFC Championship to the Super Bowl XLVII Baltimore Ravens.
Following the loss, Talib and the Patriots agreed to a one-year, $4,860,000 deal with a $3,000,000 signing bonus. He was the starting cornerback alongside Alonzo Dennard. Talib posted 41 tackles, 14 pass deflections, and 4 interceptions in 13 games. The Patriots made the AFC Championship for their third consecutive year, facing the Denver Broncos. Talib suffered a knee injury in the second quarter and would never return to the field as a Patriot again. Bill Belichick’s defense game up 505 total yards in a 26-16 loss, the most in his career at the time. Talib was honored with a 2013 Pro Bowl selection and named a second-team All-Pro.
The Pro Bowler inked a 6-year, $57 million contract ($26 million guaranteed) with the Denver Broncos in March of 2014. Talib and New England were in negotiations, but the Patriots would not match Denver’s offer. New England replaced him with former rival Darrelle Revis on a one-year mercenary deal and went on to win Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks. Talib played a key role in Denver’s 2015 defense that carried Peyton Manning to a Super Bowl 50 victory in his final season.
In his video announcement, Talib also mentioned that his “big homie“ Bill Belichick contacted the cornerback on a potential reunion. Belichick proposed a one-year deal in the $5-6 million range to primarily cover tight ends. Safety Patrick Chung typically plays this role for their secondary but opted out of the 2020 season. Talib heavily considered the offer and looked for flights and apartments in Boston. After evaluating the tight ends the Patriots will face this season, Talib questioned if he could “strap” George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Darren Waller. Because Talib even considered if he was up for the challenge, he chose to retire instead. Joejuan Williams has been practicing with the safeties in anticipation of filling this role. He should thank Talib for opting to retire and securing his roster spot.
Talib had the reputation of a high energy player who was always loved by fans and the media. Bringing this type of player back home would have added another layer of excitement to the “new” New England Patriots. However, Patriots fans will still get their fair share of Talib, who will be a guest on NBC Sports Boston's "Patriots Pregame Live" before Sunday's game. It is unknown how many weeks Talib will appear on the show, but he could provide another lovable personality that the Boston media desperately needs.
Featured image courtesy of Jim Rogash/Getty Images.