Aqib Talib has officially retired from the NFL, even though the New England Patriots were interested in bringing him back to Foxboro for the 2020 NFL season.
Talib was acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2012 season, and he played in New England through the 2013 campaign before signing with the Denver Broncos in free agency.
The veteran cornerback played with the Los Angeles Rams over the last two seasons, and on Wednesday he announced his retirement.
Talib also revealed the role Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was willing to offer him for the 2020 season. It was an enticing offer, but after looking at the Patriots' 2020 regular season schedule, Talib decided against returning to New England.
"I told myself, personally, I need to play one more year, so as long as somebody gives me a nice check, of course I'm coming, or if someone gave me a nice role," Talib said.
Talib added: "My guy, my big homie Bill Belichick called my phone. He told me that he had the role of a lifetime for me. He really wanted me to come in and strap tight ends. I was halfway out the door, I got flights, I started finding apartments. I could've got up to $5-6 million, a nice vet contract. If I can make $6 million and guard tight ends all day, I'm like, 'I'm cool'. I kinda start going through that schedule, I seen (George) Kittle, (Travis) Kelce, (Darren) Waller."
Talib is one of the most confident players in the league, but he knew that at this stage of his career, going up against several of the league's best tight ends just wasn't the best decision.
"I looked at this (expletive) schedule and thought, 'can I even strap these damn tight ends?'," Talib said. "I said, 'Ah (expletive), it's over with.' Once I said that, once that negative thought crossed my mind, I was like, my heart, my competitive edge, I ain't really in it like that no more. Let alone, when you get to be 34 you lose a step and don't move the same way you used to move. I just wasn't feeling it anymore, honestly. You gotta play this game with heart. If you don't play it with heart, that's how you get real injuries -- concussions and bad injuries when you're out here playing nervous and things like that."
It's hard to blame Talib and his reasoning.
The Patriots have the league's toughest schedule in 2020 based on opponents' win percentage from last season. They play some explosive offenses that feature elite wide receivers and tight ends. It's going to be a huge challenge for the team's defense -- one that could ultimately determine whether New England extends its postseason appearance streak to 12 seasons.
The Pats open the new season with a Week 1 matchup against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Talib will be a guest on NBC Sports Boston's "Patriots Pregame Live" before Sunday's game.