Foxborough, Mass. The New England Patriots moved to shore up their shaky secondary on Thursday by obtaining cornerback Aqib Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Patriots traded their fourth-round pick in next year’s draft for the former first-round choice, who is coming off his second NFL suspension, and a seventh-rounder in 2012.
Talib, who has 18 interceptions since being taken by Tampa Bay with the 20th pick in 2008 out of Kansas University, will be eligible to play in the Patriots’ next game on Nov. 11 after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
He said at the time of the suspension that he took an Adderall pill without a prescription “around the beginning of training camp.” He also was suspended without pay for the regular-season opener in 2010 and fined one additional game check for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. That penalty resulted from an altercation with a St. Petersburg cab driver during training camp in August 2009.
He also had charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Texas dropped a week before he was due to be tried for allegedly firing a gun at his sister’s boyfriend.
New England (5-3) enters its bye week having allowed the fifth-most yards passing in the NFL. It has been especially vulnerable to the big play, most recently on a 50-yard touchdown pass by Sam Bradford on the St. Louis Rams’ opening drive last Sunday in London. The Patriots went on to win, 45-7.
Cornerback Devin McCourty gave up several long completions, then was moved to safety the past two games when starters Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung were sidelined. Another starting quarterback, Kyle Arrington, left the Rams game because of a head injury.
“The thing we talk about is to stay the course, try to improve,” Patriots cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer said Thursday. “We need to get better. Things that we’ve done well, let’s keep doing well and just stay the course and try to get better today.”
In 58 games, 45 of them starts, Talib has returned three interceptions for touchdowns. Two of them came on his only interceptions last year.
In another move Thursday, the Patriots signed wide receiver Jarred Fayson to the practice squad. He was released by Indianapolis on Aug. 28 after having been on the practice squad from last Nov. 22 to the end of the season. The practice squad spot opened on Wednesday when the Patriots released tight end Alex Silvestro.
In other moves Wednesday, they re-signed linebacker Mike Rivera and Derrick Martin and released defensive back Sterling Moore.
Rivera, a Kansas University product, made the Patriots’ 53-man roster to open the season but was later released.