NFL investigating Aqib Talib shooting, reportedly probing possibility he shot himself
The Denver Broncos are awaiting Aqib Talib's return to team headquarters Wednesday so they can begin charting the cornerback's recovery from a gunshot wound to his right leg.
Talib was shot in Dallas over the weekend and missed the Super Bowl champions' visit to the White House. No arrests have been made, and police continue to investigate the shooting. WFAA-TV in Dallas said that, according to police, the bullet entered Talib's right thigh and exited his right calf. Such a trajectory suggests he could have shot himself, and the NFL is investigating that possibility, NFL.com reported.
Mike Klis of 9 News in Denver reports that Talib has told people close to him that he shot himself.
The Broncos believe he'll make a full recovery, but Talib, who's had firearm incidents in his past, could be facing legal consequences and possible punishment from the NFL, which is looking into the matter.
"The only thing I'm concerned about right now is his health," coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday as the Broncos began their three-day mandatory minicamp. "And that's why I'm trying to get him here for, so that we can see him, put our hands on him, know exactly what's going on and go from there."
Kubiak demurred when asked if he knew whether Talib's bullet wound was self-inflicted.
"I've obviously had many conversations with Aqib since this has taken place, but right now that's between he and I and the club," Kubiak said, adding he's "still trying to get more information on exactly everything that's happened."
Teammates are also primarily concerned with Talib's health.
"We're a family, this thing transcends football and the most important thing is his health," quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "And it sounds like he's going to be just fine physically."
In 2011, Talib was indicted on an aggravated assault charge near Dallas for allegedly pistol-whipping his sister's boyfriend and firing a shot at the man. But those charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. Last year, he and his brother were questioned at the scene of an aggravated assault at a Dallas nightclub. Talib's car was towed and examined for evidence, but he wasn't charged in the case.
"In my time here, Aqib's been a great teammate, he's worked his butt off and he's very accountable around here," Kubiak said. "And I don't expect any of that to change."
Talib was an integral part of Denver's league-best defense last year, collecting 45 tackles, 13 pass breakups and three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns, in earning his third consecutive Pro Bowl berth.
With Talib absent, nickel cornerback Bradley Roby moved up to his spot opposite Chris Harris Jr. on Tuesday to face receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Kayvon Webster slid in at nickel.
"I think of Roby as a starter, I always have, and obviously his reps are going to pick up," Kubiak said.
Talib's shooting was the latest incident in a drama-filled offseason for the Broncos. They lost Peyton Manning to retirement and Brock Osweiler to free agency a month after their 24-10 win over Carolina in Super Bowl 50. Other free agents followed Osweiler out of Denver, and several starters, including DeMarcus Ware (back), Brandon Marshall (finger) and Russell Okung (shoulder), have yet to participate in team drills this offseason.
"Nothing's smooth about what we do," Kubiak said. "There's always things happening. But the most important thing is what we do out there on that field and how we get ready to play. So, I think we've done a good job of sorting through distractions and various things that are going on with our football team and staying focused on football."
Super Bowl MVP Von Miller was another notable absence Tuesday.
He's declined to sign his $14.129 million franchise tag tender or attend the team's offseason program while awaiting a new long-term contract. Miller said the sides have made progress in recent days and he's optimistic an agreement is forthcoming.
So is Kubiak, who said he hopes Miller's deal can get completed before the team breaks for summer June 16.
On Tuesday, Sanchez took snaps with the starters and looked better than he has all offseason while Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch split snaps with the backups.
That's not to say Sanchez is the presumptive starter: "I'm not going there right now," Kubiak said.
Sanchez, acquired over the winter from Philadelphia, said he was happy his teammates got to meet the president — but he aims to accompany them on a return trip to the Rose Garden next year.