Talib says squabble is no big deal
The Pro Bowl cornerback prefers “debate” for what happens off the field.
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.”