Over the course of his 11-year playing career, Aqib Talib picked up five Pro-Bowl nods and was twice named an All-Pro. So his bona fides as a defensive NFL back are well known.
And yet, Talib, now a color commentator with Fox, had a lucrative offer to return to the NFL from his former coach Bill Belichick.
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Appearing on ESPN’s “Manningcast” version of “Monday Night Football,” Talib detailed how his conversation with Belichick went about possibly coming out of retirement. Talib previously played for Belichick and New England in 2012 and 2013, earning his first Pro-Bowl nod in 2013.
Belichick had a specific role in mind for Talib — to stop some of the game’s best tight ends.
“I thought about it, but when I talked to Bill he kid of told me what my role would be,” Talib told Peyton Manning on the broadcast. “You’re going to be my tight end stopper, so I need you to stop their tight ends. He told me how much money I would make and I was like, ‘I’ll call you right back Bill.'”
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Then Talib checked the Patriots’ schedule and saw exactly which tight ends he’d have to keep in check.
“I weigh my options and I see (Travis) Kelce, I see (Darren) Waller, I see Gronk (Rob Gronkowski). I go, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, Bill. This isn’t a regular tight end stopper. I got the best tight ends in the league on the schedule!'”
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After assessing all his options — from the tight ends he’d be going up against to his current health and everything else — Talib turned down Belichick’s offer.
“I had to politely decline. I ain’t gonna lie. I didn’t want no smoke with them guys. I’m too old, too hurt, too injured.”