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Bucs to release troubled corner Aqib Talib?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aqib Talib intercepts the ball on a pass meant for Washington Redskins Malcolm Kelly (12) in the second quarter during their NFL football game in Landover, Maryland October 4, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the Bucs are expected to release troubled cornerback Aqib Talib, who is currently being investigated for a shooting dating back to last month.

Barring a last-minute change of heart — or perhaps his exoneration — the Bucs are expected to release troubled CB Aqib Talib.

Only the lockout, which prevents teams from making transactions, has prevented Tampa Bay from already cutting ties with its 2008 first-round draft pick.

As the paper points out, Talib was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in a March 21 shooting in Texas, which is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. Police say the cornerback fired a gun at his sister’s 40-year-old boyfriend, although Talib has denied the accusation via his attorneys.

Talib has also been involved in several other off-field incidents, including fighting a teammate at the NFL rookie symposium. In 2009, he swung a helmet at offensive tackle Donald Penn during an argument and inadvertently struck cornerback Torrie Cox, which caused a gash. In 2010, Talib agreed to a deal with prosecutors to resolve a battery charge after he was accused of striking a St. Petersburg car driver. The incident caused NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to take action, suspending the cornerback for the first game of the regular season.

Even though the St. Petersburg Times is a reputable source, it’s important to allow the situation to play out. Often times a report like this will come out and the team will deny it the very next day (or several hours later in some cases). I have no doubt that the Bucs are considering releasing Talib, but he’s one of few shutdown corners in the league and he’s only 25. If he’s exonerated or given probation (which is likely considering he’s an athlete and the same laws don’t seem to apply to athletes as they do to regular folk), then there’s reason to believe that Tampa will keep him around.

But if they do decide to cut bait and move on, it would be hard to blame their rationale.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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