Aqib Talib (right) looks on during team arrivals at the Mineta San Jose International Airport in preparation of Super Bowl 50. (Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports)
Aqib Talib nearly made it to the Super Bowl with Bill Belichick.
Now that the star cornerback is finally on football’s biggest stage, he is taking time to thank his former football coach.
In a story told by ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Talib sounds like a veteran who has finally found his rightful place as a leader of one of the best secondaries in football. Talib has stepped up and reminded the likes of Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby and T.J. Ward why it’s important to prepare the right way during the week and play the right way on Sundays.
Talib learned his most valuable lessons on leadership after being traded to New England in Oct. 2012. With the Patriots, Talib spent time with Belichick, who in turn demanded discipline if Talib was going to turn his career around with a perennial winner.
“One thing I have to say about that establishment over there: They’re very professional,” Talib said. “You go there for one season and you’re professionalism will go up a plus-2. If you’re at seven, you’ll be a nine.
“That definitely helped my professionalism as far as preparation for the game, how to handle the media, my behavior on the field — everything. I really learned how to be a professional over there. I went there a seven and came out a nine. I’m working on being a 10.”
The Belichick influence has been with Talib for the most part but there have been lapses, like this season when he was suspended for a game for poking Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in the eye and docked nearly $355,000 of salary.
Talib reached the AFC championship in his two seasons with the Patriots but could never get over the hurdle and reach the Super Bowl. Ironically, it was just after signing a six-year, $57 million contract with Denver, the team the Patriots lost to in Jan. 2014, that the Patriots went out and signed Darrelle Revis. It was Revis, not Talib, who reached the Super Bowl and won his first ring.
Now 29, Talib has finally made it, after his Broncos beat the Patriots in the AFC championship on Jan. 24. Will Talib follow Revis and finally earn a ring?
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