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Thursday, February 23, 2012
Schiano addresses Barber, Talib situations

By Pat Yasinskas

It’s sounding like there’s a decent chance starting cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib could return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season.

There has been lots of speculation that might not be the case because Barber is a free agent at an age (36) where retirement is possibility and Talib has had a history of off-field troubles.

Barber
Talib
Talib
But speaking at the combine Thursday, coach Greg Schiano addressed both situations in the most detail he has since taking the job in January.

Schiano said he has met briefly with Barber already, but he and general manager Mark Dominik will meet with the captain again after they return from the combine.

"I just need to tell him what my vision is for the football team and hear from him how he sees how he fits in that,’’ Schiano said. “I think it’s going to be a great exchange. He knows what this is about, he’s been doing it so long. And he’s a Buc.

"I mean, he knows it’s near the end whether it’s a year, two or three. But I think no one knows better than Ronde what’s best for all parties involved. So I’m anxious to hear what he has to say. We visited briefly and it was good. I mean, what a bright guy to visit with. But I think this next time, we’ll talk more about the specifics of football and all that.''

Sounds to me like Schiano is basically saying if Barber wants to play another season, he can do it with the Bucs.

Talib’s situation is a bit different because it could end up depending on external variables. Talib faces a March trial in Texas for an assault term. Prison is a possibility if he’s convicted and so is disciplinary action by the NFL.

There had been a school of thought that Schiano, who is known as more of a disciplinarian than predecessor Raheem Morris, might decide to part ways with Talib as part of sending a message to the rest of his players.

But Schiano sounded like a coach who would give Talib a chance at a fresh start if the legal system doesn’t get in the way. Schiano said Talib said he’s confident the legal situation will be resolved in a positive manner.

"Then from there, we’re just going to go,’’ Schiano said. “Every guy on this football team will know our expectations. There won’t be any, 'Well, I thoughts.’ I think most of the time, frustration comes out as the result of unfulfilled expectations, my frustration and theirs. So if you make the expectations clear, then discipline really isn’t discipline, it’s a choice. You knew if you did this, everything is cool and if you don’t, there’s going to be consequences. That, to me, is not that complicated. But you have to make sure you’re very, very clear on what it is your expectations are."