Schlereth: Talent outweighs potential trouble with Broncos Talib

Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) looks on during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Photo by Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

On the field, Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib is arguably one of the best to play his position in the National Football League. Pro Football Focus has him graded behind only his teammate Chris Harris Jr, with three interceptions (one for a touchdown) and 12 passes defensed in 2016.

And Talib has been recognized several times for his accomplishments this season, earning a Pro Bowl nod, a first-team All-Pro selection, and, on Tuesday, a selection to the Pro Football Writers of America All-NFL Team.

“He’s one of the best corners in all the National Football League,” said Mark Schlereth, co-host of 104.3 The Fan’s “Schlereth and Evans.” “But the biggest thing about Aqib Talib is the energy level that he brings to the football team. He becomes the voice of the football team.”

However, Schlereth cautioned for fans who may be rubbed the wrong way by some of Talib’s extracurricular antics — both on and off the field — to not put too much stock in what makes a great leader in an NFL locker room, like the 30-year-old defensive back.

“Sometimes you’ve got to have that guy who’s a little bit touched. Sometimes you’ve got to have that guy that’s got your back even when he probably shouldn’t have your back. And that’s Aqib Talib. That’s what you want,” Schlereth said.

Twice this season, the defense’s frustration in carrying the Broncos offense spilled over into the public sphere, with Talib shoving teammate and punt returner Jordan Norwood after a muffed catch and shouting down offensive tackle Russell Okung when he attempted to speak after a tough loss.

Couple those on the field, or near the field, run-ins with teammates with off the field incidents throughout his career, including an incident in early June in which police determined an intoxicated Talib shot himself at a Dallas-area park, leading him to miss much of the offseason with two gunshot wounds to his right leg.

But despite the transgressions, Schlereth and his co-host, Mike Evans, said Tuesday that his talent and leadership outweigh any potential trouble he brings.

“You look at Aqib Talib, and I see a great player. But his antics, his actions, rub a lot of Broncos fans the wrong way, to the point where is he really worth the trouble? I think he’s worth whatever trouble he may be,” Evans said.

Talib is also entering the final year of his four-year deal with Denver, with a salary that jumps from $8.5 million in 2016 to $11 million in 2017. And a dead cap total of just $1 million, according to, Talib could be a veteran cap casualty, Evans said.

However, 9News Broncos Insider Mike Klis told “Schlereth and Evans” on Tuesday that he’s hearing Talib will be back in 2017 — despite the possibility of a lingering suspension regarding the Dallas incident, a year in which he missed three games with a lower back injury, and no more guaranteed money on his contract — though the soon-to-be 31-year-old could be the potential victim of a pay cut.

“I hear he’s just too good of a player, and they’ve had enough change and transition,” Klis said, referring to the recent head coaching change from Gary Kubiak to Vance Joseph and departure of popular defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

“You lose Wade Phillips; you can’t afford to lose Aqib Talib. He’s the second-best player on the team, not just the second-best player on defense behind Von Miller but probably better than any guy they have on offense going right now.”

Klis added: “I think the decision will be to bring Aqib Talib back, but he’s definitely in that category where it’s hardly a guarantee.”

Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.


Schlereth and Evans

Spend your morning tapping into the wealth of sport knowledge from three-time Super Bowl champion and former Broncos offensive lineman Mark "Stink" Schlereth and longtime Denver sports radio voice Mike Evans. Schlereth spent 12 seasons in the NFL, earning two trips to the Pro Bowl and winning a Super Bowl with the Redskins and two with the Broncos. He's also a longtime NFL analyst for ESPN and supporting cast member of "Ballers" on HBO. Evans has graced the sports radio airwaves for two decades, 15 years in Denver. He's a proud graduate of Syracuse University.

Polumbus and Cecil

Inject your morning routine with great football discussion and analysis with former NFL offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus and Fan Broncos Insider Cecil Lammey. Tyler, a native of Denver, went to Cherry Creek High School and played football at the University of Colorado before an eight-year NFL career that culminated with a Super Bowl 50 championship with the Denver Broncos. Lammey, one of the nation's most respected football analysts, gets you the inside scoop from reports from the Broncos' UCHealth Training Center to college football all-star games; East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl to the NFL combine and draft. He's an authority on NFL prospects from across the country.

Sandy Clough

Let Sandy Clough, one of the most recognizable voices in Denver sports radio, guide you through your work day every weekday leading into the afternoon. Sandy's been the authority in sports radio for nearly four decades in Denver. No other show will give you the insight and experience that Sandy provides.

Stokley and Zach

Kick off your afternoon with Stokley and Zach, featuring two-time Super Bowl champion Brandon Stokley and radio veteran Zach Bye. Stokley earned his two NFL titles with the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts and spent two stints with the Denver Broncos. Bye hails from the Empire State and is the former voice of the University of Albany Great Danes football, basketball and lacrosse programs. Follow them on Twitter: @bstokley14 and @byesline.

The Drive with Big Al and D-Mac

Big Al and DMac help you get through the end of your day with the best afternoon sports radio talk show in Denver. DMac is a 1991 graduate of Syracuse University and has covered Colorado sports for The Fan since 2008. Alfred Williams, a College Football Hall of Famer, won the 1990 Butkus Award and was the captain for that year's consensus National Champion University of Colorado squad. He played nine years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos.

Morning Brew

Each morning at 6:30, get your day started right as Schlereth and Evans serves up The Morning Brew. Mark Schlereth and Mike Evan take you around the world of sports, taking in and breaking down the top stories of the day. So tune in to get your fix before you head out into the world for the day. Brought to you every morning by McDonalds.

Terry Wickstrom Outdoors

Terry Wickstrom, the authority in everything outdoors, talks fishing, hunting, camping and more every Saturday morning.rnWickstrom, host of the popular television show "Angling Adventures" and previously "Mountain States Fishing," is a nationally published outdoor author, an accomplished multi-species angler, and has served on the "pro staff" of many top fishing industry companies.rn

In The Fairway

Jerry Walters and Cousin Ray Best provide up-to-the-minute details about golf in Colorado, rules and all the professional tours. The Boys of Summer interview the biggest names in golf every Saturday mornings throughout the golf season.

About the Author

Johnny Hart

Johnny Hart is a digital content producer for Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan and He's a proud graduate of Colorado State University, and he has covered Denver-area professional sports since 2012. Follow Johnny on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.