Former Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib announced his retirement from the NFL on his podcast Wednesday.
The 12-year veteran revealed he turned down an offer to join the Patriots for the 2020 season, after coach Bill Belichick reached out to see if Talib would return to New England to cover tight ends.
“My guy, my big homie, Bill Belichick called my phone man, told me he had the role of a lifetime for me,” said Talib, 34. “He really wanted me to come in and strap tight end. I was halfway out the door. I got flights, starting finding apartments.”
But that enthusiasm was tempered when he looked at the Patriots’ schedule, and had second thoughts about whether he could cover the likes of George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers, Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs and Darren Waller of the Las Vegas Raiders.
“I thought, ‘Can I even strap these damn tight ends?’” said Talib. “Once that negative thought crossed my mind, I was like my heart, my competitive edge, I ain’t really in it like that anymore.”
The Patriots acquired Talib from the Buccaneers in a midseason trade in 2012, sending a fourth round pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for the talented cornerback and a seventh round pick. He started 18 of the 19 games he played for the Patriots, recording five interceptions.
During his time in New England, Talib demonstrated that he could indeed “strap” opposing tight ends. In a memorable performance against New Orleans in 2013, Talib held 6-foot-7-inch Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who entered the game as the league’s leading receiver that year, without a catch on six targets.
Following the 2013 season, Talib signed a six-year, $57 million contract with the Denver Broncos.
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