Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib has avoided league discipline for a possible violation of the personal conduct policy following criminal charges he had faced in his home state of Texas. The National Football League caught up to Talib on Saturday, though, announcing that the fifth-year cornerback had been suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
"We are disappointed to learn that Aqib Talib will be suspended for four games, which will begin with our game tomorrow against Kansas City," Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano said in a statement released by the team. "I have spoken with Aqib, and he knows that he made a poor decision that let our team down. Certainly, other players will have the opportunity to step up while he serves this suspension."
Talib has decided not to file an appeal and will begin his suspension on Sunday. Talib will be eligible to return on Nov. 5, keeping him out of games against the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders. Talib's suspension is without pay, which means he will forfeit $435,882, which is 4/17ths of his $1,852,500 base salary for the 2012 season. Talib is also ineligible for postseason awards, including participation in the Pro Bowl.
"Around the beginning of training camp, I made a mistake by taking an Adderall pill without a prescription," Talib said. "This is especially regrettable because, for the past several months, with Coach 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."
A 2008 first-round pick out of Kansas, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Talib has 182 tackles and 18 interceptions in 45 career games. In four games this season, Talib had 21 tackles and an interception while playing in 270 of the team's 272 defensive snaps. E.J. Biggers will replace Talib as the starter opposite Chris Houston for the next four weeks, though there have at least one call in the Tampa media for the team to permanently severe ties to the talented, but too-often-troubled Talib.
Adderall is considered a stimulant (an amphetamine) and is banned by the NFL as a performance-enhancing drug. Players are permitted to take Adderall for therapeutic use, provided they have a valid prescription and obtain a "therapeutic use exemption" from the league office. New York Giants running back Andre Brown had a four-game suspension for Adderall overturned after reportedly failing to disclose his prescription to the league, but Giants safety Tyler Sash wasn't as fortunate and missed the first four weeks of the 2012 season. Another Giants safety, Will Hill, is beginning a four-game suspension for unauthorized use of Adderall this week as Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden returns from his four-game, Adderall-based ban.
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