ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Members of the Denver Broncos "No Fly Zone" secondary are relieved that star Aqib Talib won’t face a suspension over the shooting in Dallas last year in which the All-Pro cornerback admitted he accidentally shot himself.
"Absolutely," safety Darian Stewart said Wednesday. "You can’t replace Talib. He’s a hell of a player, an All-Pro player year in and year out and a guy we count on week in and week out."
Talib received a letter from the league recently informing him he wouldn’t be suspended or fined over the shooting.
However, the NFL also notified Talib that he "must complete a firearm safety course and must supply the league a list of all firearms he owns," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
Talib, who has had firearms incidents in the past, required stitches but no surgery to his right leg after the June 5 shooting, which forced him to miss the Broncos’ visit to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl 50 title and sidelined him until August.
Talib recovered and had one of his best seasons in 2016, earning his third consecutive Pro Bowl nod and also teamed up with fellow Denver cornerback and Kansas alum Chris Harris Jr. in being selected as a first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career.
"When he told me he wasn’t suspended, I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t even know you might be suspended,"’ safety T.J. Ward said. "That is always a relief having your guy out there and knowing that he is not going to miss any games."
His off-the-field troubles aside, Talib is a locker room leader with a charismatic personality who is popular among his teammates.
"If you want some honesty, go to Talib," Stewart said. "Go to Talib. He’s a straight shooter. That’s one thing you respect about him. He’s not going to sugarcoat nothing or beat around the bush. He’s going to tell you and he’s going to be honest with you. That’s all you can ask of somebody: be honest."