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As injuries go, anything to do with a hip is one of the worst that a cornerback can suffer, and for obvious reason - if you can't swivel to turn and run with the receiver, what good are you?

Certainly not $57 million good, so when New England Patriots' unrestricted free agent Aqib Talib was contacted by the Denver Broncos, who wanted to give him those many dollars to patrol their defensive secondary, it was in his best interest to dispel talk of him having a chronically misbehaving hip.


Talib wasn't a member of the Denver Broncos for more than 24 hours before he took his first public opportunity to throw his old ball coach and his injury reporting shenanigans right under the free agency bus.

And why not?  After all, it wasn't Bill Belichick who opened his wallet and handed Talib a kings' ransom - guaranteed - to lock down the opponent's most dominant weapon for the next six years, it was John Elway...

...and while Elway was busy explaining to the concerned Denver media that he's not mortgaging the future of the franchise with all of these exorbitant guaranteed salaries that he's handing out like rubbers at Planned Parenthood rally, Talib took the opportunity to get chummy with his new General Manager and to get a few things off his chest while he was at it.

Thing is, every football fan in the civilized world and parts of Maine knows that Belichick is loathe for forking over information about anything at all, let alone the health status of one of his players, and that he regularly circumvents injury reporting procedure as his way of flipping the bird to Roger Goodell and his list fetish.

Could it also be to give him the slightest of tactical advantages on Sunday? An opposing coach would have have to have shit for brains to actually believe anything that Belichick puts on that report.

Regularly twice as long as any other coach's injury report, Belichick doesn't try to hide injury by omitting it from the report, he masks the injury by overloading the thing, listing everything down to the last hangnail - and until the NFL adopts the National Hockey League's requirement of the ambiguous choices of Upper or Lower body injuries, that will continue to be the case.

So when Aqib Talib tells tale of injury report indiscretion on Belichick's part, it goes to figure that Belichick just laughed that one off, but what he might have a tough time getting dislodged from his craw is the fact that his former cornerback now has a completely differing opinion of the hit that his now fellow-former-Patriot Wes Welker laid on him in the AFC Title game.

“Wes is a good friend of mine,” Talib beamed “I watched the play 1,000 times and I can promise you, he didn’t do it on purpose.” - his comments in direct contrast to Belichick's accusatory remarks following the game that Welker "wanted to take out Aqib" on the play and that it was "One of the worst plays I've seen"

Of course, the hit did take Talib out of the game, leaving the rest of the Patriots' secondary to fend for themselves against the juggernaut aerial attack of Peyton Manning and helping the Broncos to advance to the mortal ass whooping they got from Seattle in the Super Bowl...

...and it wasn't just that one play that cost the Patriots a chance to grab the brass ring, but Belichick thought enough of it to go out of his way and directly accuse Welker of dark malfeasance - and now that Talib is with the Broncos and a very wealthy man, it really doesn't make any difference to anyone.

Besides, of course, Belichick and the legions of Patriots' fans.

Whether Talib is just making nice or simply putting up a aesthetically pleasing facade for his new employer, whatever his motivation, perhaps we now see why Talib is no long with the Patriots and why Darrelle Revis, who has signed on in New England for a year, is.

Two thousand miles away from Denver in the hamlet of Foxborough, Belichick came out of his customary seclusion like Punxsutawney Phil - but unlike that filthy, weird and sleepy rodent that comes out of his hole to torment New Englanders with his rouge weather predictions, Belichick foretold of an upgrade in the Patriots' forecast...

...laying out $12 million dollars to the best cornerback in the business - paying Revis what he wouldn't pay Talib, essentially giving the former Jet and Buccaneer the franchise tag while perhaps working on a long-term deal.

So in the end, Bill Belichick upgraded his secondary for what Talib would have cost on the tag and has immediately thrust the Patriots back into the conversation of contender, something that Patriots' fans thought was long gone when Talib blew town.

And Talib?  He has his money and his good friend out in the middle of the Rockies, while the man that Talib claimed was on a different planet from everyone else so far as cornerbacks go, and the defender that quarterback Tom Brady claims is the best he's ever played against - the man who owns his very own figurative island - is on his way to New England.

Not to replace Talib, mind you, but to one-up Talib - and the only way to do that is to win a Super Bowl before he does.

Michael Hamm 3/12/2014 10:38:00 PM Edit
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