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Talib impresses Pats

Posted Apr 1, 2013 by Ira Kaufman

Updated Apr 1, 2013 at 02:31 PM

BY IRA KAUFMAN

TAMPA—Bill Belichick didn’t show Aqib Talib the money, but he’s showing the former Bucs cornerback plenty of respect.

Belichick basically runs football operations for the Patriots and he was intrigued enough with Talib five months ago to initiate a trade for Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in the 2008 draft. Talib played well for New England in six regular-season games, then missed most of the AFC title game against Baltimore due to an injury.

A few days after Talib hit the free-agent market last month, the Pats signed him to a one-year deal for a reported $5 million.

Belichick said he was pleased with Talib’s impact after he came off a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

“I thought it was good,’’ Belichick said. “Obviously, he’s a talented player, a good teammate. I think he has a lot of things that we wanted to work with as a team. I thought in the opportunities he had last year, he worked hard and gave us his best. Hopefully, he’ll be able to build on that year with the offseason program and training camp. We’ll see how it goes.’‘

While they decided to re-sign Talib, the Patriots declined to make a long-term commitment to a 27-year-old corner just approaching his prime. Talib and his agent are hoping a solid 2013 season will serve as a springboard for a lucrative free-agent deal next year.

“I think he definitely helped us, no question,’’ said Belichick. “I think Aqib’s a good football player. I think he can do a number of things at that position that an NFL corner needs to do. I wouldn’t characterize him as having only one skill, put it that way.’‘

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