Aqib Talib swears he’s more concerned about the possible punishment Julio Jones could deliver this weekend than any discipline that might await him from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
The Denver Broncos star cornerback could still face discipline from the league over the shooting in Dallas last summer in which a bullet pierced his right leg even if he won’t be charged.
“I’m not really worried about anything except for Atlanta right now,” Talib said Wednesday, a day after WFAA-TV in Dallas reported that detectives determined Talib shot himself on June 5, but that he wouldn’t face any criminal charges in the case.
Dallas police have declined to confirm or deny the report.
“When I heard that report yesterday, I immediately got on my iPad and started watching Julio Jones,” Talib said.
“I cannot even worry about it. I got my hands full with enough already. Like I said, it’s still under review.”
Even if he faces no legal consequences, Talib could still be suspended or fined by the NFL, which doesn’t require criminal charges or a conviction to mete out player punishment.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Talib’s case “is under review of the personal conduct policy.”
Coach Gary Kubiak said the Broncos are “just moving forward, he’s playing great, obviously having a heck of a year and (we’re) expecting him to keep going.”
Teammates aren’t fretting either, suggested cornerback Chris Harris Jr.
“That’s a weird situation,” Harris said. “You never know what’s going to happen. You never know what the NFL’s going to do anytime, with any situation. Right now, he’s not in jail. So, I mean, what can you do if he didn’t go to jail? He didn’t do anything wrong.”
On Sunday, the Broncos (4-0) host the Falcons (3-1), who are coming off a 48-33 rout of Carolina in which Matt Ryan threw for 503 yards and Jones became just the sixth player in NFL history to post a 300-yard receiving game.
Talib, who was sidelined for three months after suffering a gunshot wound to his right thigh and calf, has started all four of Denver’s games and has three interceptions.
That’s one shy of his total from 2015 when he earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl berth, but also was suspended for one game for his deliberate eye poke to a Colts tight end, which cost him $323,529.
Talib is making $8.5 million this year and GM John Elway disputed a report last month that the Broncos had talked about trading him.
His off-the-field troubles aside, Talib is a locker room leader with a charismatic personality. Kubiak asked him to address the team last weekend on the eve of his return to Tampa, where he began as career.
“He’s always outgoing, always keeps everybody upbeat,” said Harris, who also played with Talib at the University of Kansas.
“That’s our man, outgoing, talkative. He’s just more of a brother. He’s always had my back. I’ll always have his. He’s always been that type of teammate that if you get in trouble or anything, Aqib’s going to be right there for you.”
Talib, who has had firearm incidents in the past, told Dallas police the night he was shot that he was too intoxicated to recall details of the shooting.
He required stitches but no surgery and missed the Broncos’ visit to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl title.
He’s offered few specifics of the shooting, other than to say he feels fortunate to still be playing football and wants to concentrate on helping the Broncos repeat as champions.
He returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown against Andrew Luck in Week 2, his ninth career pick-6, and his fifth for Denver, a franchise record.
Last week, he picked off a pair of passes in his return to Tampa Bay, where he played from 2008-12. Those interceptions set up Denver’s first two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 27-7 win.
Harris said Talib, whose 33 interceptions are more than any DB in the league since 2008, doesn’t appear to be fazed by the specter of impending discipline from the commissioner’s office.
“Apparently it’s not bothering him at all,” Harris said. “So, if it’s not bothering him, it’s not going to bother us, and we’re just going to keep it rolling.”
Newton sits out with concussion
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton missed practice with a concussion, raising concerns about his availability for Monday night’s division game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The league’s reigning MVP remains in the concussion protocol, three days after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker Deion Jones in the fourth quarter of a 48-33 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Carolina was not required to release an injury report, so there was no official update on Newton’s status. Derek Anderson would start for Carolina if Newton can’t play.
Anderson is 2-0 as a starter since joining the Panthers in 2011. Both victories came against the Buccaneers in 2014. Anderson declined comment, saying he was scheduled to address reporters on Thursday.
Third-string quarterback Joe Webb said he spoke to Newton on Wednesday.
“He was in good spirits,” Webb said. “He wasn’t down or nothing like that.”
The struggling Panthers (1-3) are suddenly dealing with several injuries.
Left tackle Michael Oher did not practice after missing the Atlanta game with a concussion. Running back Jonathan Stewart, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, continued to work on the side with trainers. And offensive tackle Mike Remmers was given a day to rest. Remmers said he expects to play against Tampa Bay.
The good news for Carolina is the Buccaneers always seem to serve as the perfect elixir.
The Panthers have defeated their division rivals six straight times going back to 2013.
Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin said the team has confidence in Anderson’s ability to step in and win some games.
Jets’ Marshall criticizes Giants
New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall said the Giants need to keep their criticisms of star Odell Beckham Jr. “in-house” and rally behind him outside the public eye. Beckham has had a few outbursts on the field and the sideline this season.
“They need to rally behind him and give him the support he needs and handle that stuff in-house, whether good or bad. Because whether they like it or not, he’s the best player on that team,” Marshall said.
Beckham has said he’s no longer having fun playing football, and Giants coach Ben McAdoo and quarterback Eli Manning have criticized his behavior.
“Coach coming out and saying, `He needs to do …,’ nah, that’s the wrong way,” Marshall said. “You’re playing with fire right there.”
Marshall has dealt with his own issues with teammates and coaches during his career, and spoke to Beckham recently about handling his situation. Marshall added that Beckham has done and said things he “absolutely” doesn’t agree with.
“He’s the type of guy that he can play with anger, he can play with rage,” Marshall said. “That’s not a distraction for him. He doesn’t need a sports psychologist for that because he’s still going to make that magnificent, one-handed catch. The problem is, it may be a distraction to his teammates.”
Especially when Beckham’s teammates and coaches are constantly being asked questions about his behavior.
“When your teammates have to answer that question over and over, that’s when it becomes a problem,” Marshall said. “So I think that he can channel it a bit better, but there’s a thin line. He has to be himself. Monday night, he was not himself. That’s not good for them.”
Beckham was held to three catches for a career-low 23 yards in the Giants’ 24-10 loss at Minnesota, a game in which he drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for exchanging words with Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
“I just have to understand if I sneeze the wrong way, it’ll be a flag, it’ll be a fine,” Beckham said after the game. “If I tie my shoe the wrong way, it might be a fine or a flag. It is what it is. You have to understand that.”
During the Giants’ previous game against Washington, a frustrated Beckham took a swipe at a kicking net and McAdoo spoke to the star receiver several times to calm him. Beckham has lost $130,000 in salary because of fines or suspensions in just two-plus seasons.
Despite all that, Marshall doesn’t believe the solution is for the Giants to bench Beckham.
“If they bench him … he’s the best player in the NFL right now,” Marshall said. “I would say top-five players.”
But, then, couldn’t the Giants be accused of enabling a player who many might perceive as needing a timeout?
“Keep it in-house,” Marshall said. “That’s the best way to do it. He’s still young. He’s 23 years old and he has a lot of growing to do.”
Jets safety Calvin Pryor was fined nearly $25,000 for his tackle of Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin last Sunday, but Pryor plans to appeal it. … Eagles LB Nigel Bradham was back at practice after being arrested at Miami International Airport on a misdemeanor concealed weapons charge Sunday. TSA workers found a loaded gun in Bradham’s backpack, which Bradham said was unintentional. … Broncos QB Trevor Siemian got the day off from practice to give his bruised left shoulder another day to heal. … Bears WR Kevin White will be placed on injured reserve with a fractured left fibula, an injury he sustained in Sundays 17-14 win over the Lions.
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