Talib says squab­ble is no big deal

The Pro Bowl cor­ner­back prefers “de­bate” for what hap­pens off the field.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nicki Jhab­vala

The Bron­cos’ locker-room squab­ble that fol­lowed their loss to the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots on Sun­day was overblown, said Aqib Talib, the Pro Bowl cor­ner­back who was at the heart of the dis­pute with of­fen­sive tackle Rus­sell Okung.

Okung wanted to ad­dress the team af­ter the de­feat, but Talib ob­jected and a shout­ing match en­sued.

The in­ci­dent, first re­ported by NFL.com’s Mike Sil­ver, quickly be­came the big­gest story line out of Den­ver — big­ger than the loss it­self and big­ger than the de­fense’s per­for­mance against Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady, who was held to 188 yards pass­ing.

On Wed­nes­day, Talib spoke about the in­ci­dent for the first time and echoed ear­lier com­ments by team­mates and coach Gary Ku­biak.

“It wasn’t too big of a deal, man,” Talib said. “I ar­gue with my mother, and she still makes me break­fast. It’s part of foot­ball. It wasn’t even like an ar­gu­ment, though. I don’t know who did it, Mike Sil­ver — I don’t know who did it, but I think they made too much of it.”

Talib said he and Okung quickly made amends and even at­tended an event for Chris Har­ris’ foun­da­tion the fol­low­ing night.

“It’s foot­ball, man. Y’all were just do­ing your job. I re­spect it,” Talib said about me­dia. “Y’all needed a story. Y’all didn’t want to talk about Tom (Brady) and his 180 yards and no touch­downs, so y’all fig­ured y’all would talk about that.”

Talib said locker-room de­bates “hap­pened a lot last year” and are fre­quent in the se­condary’s weekly meet­ings.

“Me and T.J. (Ward) ar­gue ev­ery Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day to get our game plan right,” he said. “It’s just part of what me and T.J. do. It’s been work­ing for us. … They’re not ar­gu­ments. Let’s change what I said. They’re de­bates. They’re like de­bates. You just have to go back and forth un­til you get your point across and then come to a con­clu­sion that you’re go­ing to play the cov­er­age this way. So 50-50.”

Talib is a player known to play on the edge and let his emo­tions carry over to the side­line and the locker room af­ter a game. The fire has helped him to four Pro Bowls and has pro­vided the back­bone of the Bron­cos’ No Fly Zone se­condary. But it can, and has, come at a cost.

Last year there was the in­fa­mous eye-poke of Dwayne Allen late in the Bron­cos’ loss at In­di­anapo­lis that landed Talib a hefty fine and a one-game sus­pen­sion. This year, in an over­time loss against Kansas City, Talib shoved Jor­dan Nor­wood af­ter the Bron­cos wide re­ceiver’s sec­ond muffed punt. This month, af­ter Harry Dou­glas’ cheap shot on Har­ris in the Bron­cos’ loss at Ten­nessee, Talib rushed to his team­mate’s de­fense and started a brawl.

But any sug­ges­tion of tam­ing that fire is a non­starter.

“Is that what you think?” Talib said. “My check don’t say that.”

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