Charges have finally come in on Aqib Talib, the frequently high (if you believe his pre-draft drug tests) and drafted-up-high (20th overall in 2008) Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback who reportedly decked a cabbie because . . . well, it’s still not exactly clear why.
Talib was arrested on August 19 after a bizarre incident in which he and two teammates — linebacker Angelo Crowell and fellow corner Torrie Cox — were taking a taxi from a St. Petersburg nightclub to a hotel in Tampa.
Here’s how it played out: Crowell was texting someone when he suddenly felt the cab swerve. The cab driver, David Duggan, said it was like “someone hit me upside the head with a hammer. . . . He hit me so hard he knocked my hat off my head.” Assistant State Attorney Richard Ripplinger even told reporters that they have no idea what actually prompted Talib’s attack. Duggan himself said that the other two players were as shocked as he was and that Crowell stepped in to protect the cabbie — all while the car was driving about 70 mph along the interstate.
“No one reported that there was any rational justification for hitting the man,” said Ripplinger. “There was no argument reported to us.”
Cox originally told the Florida Highway Patrol that Talib hit Duggan, but he’s now saying he was sleeping. Which is interesting, because Talib himself was soon out cold as well. Talib was originally arrested for simple battery and resisting arrest, but the latter charge has been dropped, as it now appears that Talib was not resisting but simply “had a lot to drink and was possibly asleep,” according to Ripplinger.
Talib should be arraigned within the next few weeks. If convicted, he faces up to a year in county jail. The player, incidentally, was free to travel to London for this past weekend’s game against the Patriots. Maybe driving on the left-hand side of the road will be more to his liking.
Return of the Whizzinator
Remember Onterrio Smith? Like Talib, he was a much-hyped college talent who came into the NFL with so-called red flags. He was a good-looking player on the field, but got suspended by the league for the year in 2005 when — in an incident that became a much-joked-about national scandal — he was arrested at an airport in possession of dried urine and a fake penis-like device called the “Whizzinator.” Forever associated with the hilarious drug-test-busting equipment, Smith never made it back to the NFL. He got cut by the Vikings in 2006, tried to make it with the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, broke his foot, and was done for good.
Earlier this year, he got busted on a possession charge and must have missed a hearing, because he was picked up for speeding last week in Truckee, California, and hauled in on a warrant. He was released on $15,000 bond. Something tells me he’s about to join the gaggle of perpetually arrested former NFL players wandering the wilds of California. Give him 16 points, and Todd Marinovich’s phone number — maybe they can room together.