New England Patriots star cornerback Aqib Talib went down in the second quarter of the team’s AFC Championship Game loss, and he was ruled out for the rest of the game with both rib and knee injuries of unknown severity. Hip injuries have mostly been the thorns in Talib’s side over his career, but the Patriots were dealt a crushing blow when Talib, who missed three regular season games, was bounced out of the AFCGG early on for the second straight year.
The good news is that MassLive.com’s Nick Underhill reports that Talib did not suffer any structural damage on his knee, and a source told Underhill that Talib was merely “banged up” on the rub play from Wes Welker. Much has been made of the intent of Welker’s play, but I definitely side with the likes of ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss and former Patriots WR Donte’ Stallworth; it was not a malicious play. Was it illegal? I’m not sure, but I think you have to discern intent before making the comments Bill Belichick did.
Anyway, Talib is set to hit free agency this offseason, and either he or wide receiver Julian Edelman is the team’s biggest priority to re-sign. I would hope that the Patriots would be able to lock both guys up, but Talib chose to sign a prove-it deal last offseason so he could be inclined to chase the paper. Both Edelman and Talib are star players, but they also have injury concerns. Those concerns will help the Patriots out, and I honestly think they’ll be able to re-sign both; I would assume there is mutual interest on both fronts.