GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Sports

November 3, 2012

Crunch Time

So much

for character

@text1:Bill Belichick’s answer to the New England Patriots’ first-half secondary woes?

How about Tampa trouble-maker Aqib Talib, a cornerback and former first-round pick, whom the Patriots reportedly picked up via trade with the Bucs, just before yesterday’s deadline.

To me, it’s amazing that Belichick would take the “Corey Dillon” route to patch the problems in his defensive backfield.

Doesn’t character mean anything, especially on defense?

Can this football team count on a guy like Talib?

Well, they won’t be able to in eight days when the Pats return to the field and host Buffalo, because Talib’s latest episode — being caught abusing the drug Adderall — cost him a four-game suspension. One of those games has yet to be served.

Belichick clearly gambled, dumping a fourth-round pick on the 6-foot-1, 205-pound cover man.

He risked a friendship. If Talib is as bad an apple as his record might indicate — swinging helmets at practice, punching out a fellow Bucs’ rookie, assault on a cab driver, shooting at and pistol-whipping a brother-in-law, etc. — Belichick will never speak to Tampa coach Greg Schiano again.

And he risked his locker room. This guy enters a place devoid of solid, trustworthy leadership on the defensive side. There really hasn’t been any since Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and Willie McGinest left. You wonder if he spreads some of the bad habits among a very young, impressionable room.

Talib had better be good, on the field and off.

-Compiled by Hector Longo

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