Aqib Talib has been enjoying everything about Super Bowl week in Santa Clara. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — This has been a week for Aqib Talib to soak it all in.
The veteran corner, who turns 30 on Feb. 13, is taking in all the vibes from his first Super Bowl experience.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Talib said. “You have to have the fun, lock in and work and then you have fun, lock in and work. You just have to balance it. We’re all enjoying it.”
He’s been enjoying himself on and off the field, as his three interceptions in practice on Wednesday would suggest.
“They have cameras at practice? [laughter],” Talib said with a big grin. “I did. I was able to make some plays on the ball. We had a good look from our offense from our scout team offense. I was able to make some plays on the ball.”
Earlier in the week, Talib gave props to Bill Belichick in New England for helping him understand and appreciate the professional approach of a winner in the NFL. But, on Thursday, the final day of player availability before the Super Bowl, he made it clear Belichick let his team have its share of fun on the field.
“It’s a lot similar,” Talib said comparing Belichick to Broncos coach Gary Kubiak. “It’s a lot similar, you’d be surprised. People think New England is like a military school and boy school and don’t talk. It’s not like that ‘ they have fun over there as well, it’s just a tight knit group. Bill just doesn’t mess with you all. He just doesn’t mess with the media.”
Talib let everyone in on another secret on Thursday. Belichick nearly gave him a chance to help Tom Brady.
“Actually, when I first got to New England, I think my first practice maybe, Bill kept me after practice for like 20 minutes and Tom threw me like ten routes: stop routes, fades, a couple slants the first day I got there. I guess I didn’t look good enough because he never did it again,” Talib laughed. “I feel like I caught all of my passes though. I was working hard out there but I still want to know what happened with that, Bill. He definitely kept me after practice though and Tom threw me about a good 10 routes.”
The Patriots weren’t the first team to try Talib out on offense.
“In Tampa, I was this close, I was young too. I was young and flying around. I was this close to getting an offensive package. I came to work late on a Monday. Raheem Morris called me up to his office and said, ‘I had a 15-play script for you on offense,’ and ripped it up (laughter). That’s Raheem Morris, he’s my dog. He was going to give me an opportunity.”
Why all the attention to offense for a guy that’s made his name as one of the best corners in the game?
“Because I used to play offense. I used to love playing offense,” Talib said. “I played offense in high school, in college, and I don’t get to play it in the league. So when I get the ball I have to score my touchdowns like I’m on offense. I just like offensive guys, they don’t practice tackling like that. It would be wrong to let those guys tackle me when I get the ball. That’s kind of how I go about it.”