Working in tandem with GM Mark Dominik, head coach Greg Schiano cleaned up the Buccaneers’ roster before the season to remove players he did not believe had adequately bought into his system.
He also stood by Aqib Talib, despite the cornerback's checkered past, which included testing positive for marijuana in college, fighting a teammate at the NFL’s Rookie Symposium, hitting a teammate in the face with his helmet during a fight at practice in 2009 and allegedly punching a Tampa-area cab driver later in ’09 (resulting in a one-game suspension).
With Talib facing a felony charge in the offseason for a March 2011 incident, Schiano praised Talib’s focus and commitment in June, two weeks before Talib’s trial for assault with a deadly weapon was due to begin. Talib would have been facing significant jail time, a lengthy suspension and his release from the Bucs had he been found guilty, but the charges against him were dropped.
The Bucs’ first-year head coach is still supportive of Talib in the wake of Talib's four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Talib said his positive test was the result of taking an Adderall pill around the beginning of training camp. While “disappointed” in Talib, Schiano has said welcoming him back after his suspension ends Nov. 5 will be best for the team.
There has been speculation that the Bucs privately might be shopping Talib to other teams ahead of the Week Eight trade deadline. The market for a talented corner in the prime of his career, as Talib is, was set before the season, when the Dolphins traded CB Vontae Davis to the Colts for a 2013 second-round pick and a conditional late-round pick. A deal for Talib would be complicated by his contract situation — he’s in the final year of his rookie deal — and his status as a repeat offender of the league’s personal-conduct policy. As a result, it appears that Talib’s future this season is with the Bucs.