When the New England Patriots made the move to acquire cornerback Aqib Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 1, fans easily would have been forgiven for viewing the deal with skepticism.
In years past, the Patriots had success in taking on other teams' headaches, scoring big with the likes of running back Corey Dillon and receiver Randy Moss, earning coach Bill Belichick a reputation as a miracle worker within the talented-but-troubled set.
But more recently, folks in these parts watched in puzzlement as the Patriots took gambles last season on defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth and receiver Chad Ochocinco. Not so miraculous, those choices, as Haynesworth was cut in early November 2011 and Ochocinco caught 15 passes all season.
Now along comes Talib, who was serving a four-game suspension for failing a banned-substance test at the time of the trade, and whose litany of run-ins — with the law, with his own teammates and, yes, even once with a game official outside the Tampa Bay locker room — could fill a small notebook.
This had the potential to go down as another Patriots overreach. But, turns out there is a big difference between Talib and guys like Haynesworth and Ochocinco: Talib still can play.
As they prepare to line up in the AFC championship game against Baltimore on Sunday, there may be no player more instrumental in bolstering the Patriots' chances to return to the Super Bowl — and win it this time — than Talib. And he is happy to be along for the ride.
RELATED TAGS: nike nfl super bowl jerseys,2013 super bowl jerseys,cheap nike nfl jerseys