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Aqib Talib trade working out well for Patriots

Aqib Talib

New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib talks with reporters in the locker room after an NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

AP

When the Patriots sent a fourth-round draft pick to the Buccaneers for cornerback Aqib Talib just hours before the trade deadline, they were taking a major risk. Talib had talent, but he had also had so much off-field trouble that the Bucs were sick of dealing with him and eager to send him packing.

That risk has paid off.

The Patriots, who also got a seventh-round draft pick from the Bucs in the deal, have found themselves with a starting cornerback who helped shore up their pass defense. And Talib says he loves playing in the Patriots’ defense.

It’s real football; that’s what I like. You come here and you know you’re going to play some real football,” Talib told Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “When you’re little and you think about being in the NFL, you think about being in this situation. It’s ideal for me.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says Talib has been a great presence in New England.

“He’s a good football player, good teammate [and] he’s very well respected because of his professionalism,” Belichick said of Talib. “He studies hard and prepares well. He’s tough. He competes well, both in practice and on Sundays. Smart kid. I like him; the team likes him. He’s a good guy to be around, and he works hard and competes well. I think those are his most impressive qualities. I’m glad he’s on our football team. He’s certainly made us a better football team.”

If Talib helps the Patriots win a Super Bowl, that trade will turn out to be a bargain.