Aqib Talib deems self 'day to day'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For the first time since suffering a hip injury in Week 6, New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib spoke with the media Thursday, which could be a sign that the defensive back is closing in on a return -- perhaps as soon as Monday night.

He officially deemed himself "day to day" but again was on the practice field, for the team's full-pads workout Thursday morning.

The 27-year-old conceded that being away from game action has been difficult.

"Definitely, man, anytime you have to watch the guys go to war without you, man, that's the worst thing in the world," he said.

He's had plenty of time to recover, however, as the Patriots are coming off their bye week, which Talib noted arrived "at the perfect time."

Should Talib play Monday night against the Carolina Panthers, he could be used to shadow receiver Steve Smith, a division rival from Talib's days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Smith's competitive nature has set him apart during his 13-year career, Talib said.

"He brings it every Sunday or Monday or whenever the game is," he said. "Steve's gonna bring it. If you're competitive like that, you're gonna be successful."

Should Talib play and be aligned against Smith, one can expect the two will have plenty to say to each other, as Talib added that Smith is the type of receiver who isn't afraid to talk on the field.

Talib has been known to engage in conversation on the field himself, as he mentioned light-heartedly.

"Yeah, I say a couple words."