Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sadly, Morris keeps defending Talib
TAMPA - I don't know who came off as more of a nut the past couple of days, wild child Aqib Talib for returning to the lunatic fringe or Raheem Morris for all but defending it. The Bucs' talented, but chuckleheaded cornerback is again being backed up - and partly enabled - by his head coach, who, judging by his amazing statements Monday, apparently sees only Talib's six interceptions or Talib lined up against Falcons wide receiver Roddy White this Sunday in the Bucs' biggest game of the season. I don't think the Bucs or the league should suspend Talib for his confrontation with an NFL official. This isn't even a story if not for the talking zebra. Both men were out of line during their "conversation." Isn't that what Morris called it Monday, a conversation?"He didn't do anything wrong," Morris said of his star lightning rod. "He was just in conversation. He was just in conversation, so I'm not going to sit here and act like Aqib did anything wrong toward the official because I'm not into that. That's between those two men and whatever happened happened." Whatever happened happened? Eyewitnesses said Talib threatened, with feeling, to punch the official in the mouth. Teammates apparently had to hold Talib back. Given his history, who knows what happens if there was no safety harness. Plenty of people inside One Buc Place keep their fingers perpetually crossed. They hope Talib doesn't do something stupid and endanger his livelihood or his team's chances. The guy is crazy talented, but sometimes he's just crazy. How does someone who is clearly on the commissioner's radar get into it with an official? That rotten pass interference call Talib was angry about happened late in the first half, not the second. Morris, who went crazy himself at the time, was calmed by game's end. Every Bucs player made it to the losing locker room without going ballistic, all except one. Talib remains a wild card, the wildest, in fact. Throw in the fact that the Bucs got breaks, too, like that bogus holding call that erased a Baltimore touchdown. Also, the Bucs had a whole half of football to come back and win. Shut up and move on. Talib needed to stop making excuses. But where's that lesson for him? Morris keeps making excuses for Talib. In Monday's bizarre performance, Morris fell all over himself, saying he didn't know what happened and hadn't talked to Talib. But he then contradicted eyewitness accounts, saying Talib didn't have to be restrained. He shrugged off any talk of even the chance of violence from No. 25, as if Talib never fought at an NFL rookie symposium, swung a helmet at fellow Bucs or took the single most expensive cab ride in Tampa Bay history. Sunday's incident is nothing compared to the previous ones, but that talk of violence should worry people. The real problem is that something else is bound to happen. And maybe it will happen no matter what Morris says or does, privately or publicly. "I'm living my dream right now," Talib said before this season. "I can't turn it back into a nightmare. I doubt you'll see any stuff out of me anymore. I came too close to the edge." The simple and sad fact is that with Aqib Talib, it's never that much in cab fare from here to the edge. Morris and the Bucs are clearly just along for the ride.
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