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Aqib Talib has evolved into a leader for the New England Patriots

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Jim Rogash

If you're itching for a great read, The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe has you covered. This morning he published a terrific piece about cornerback Aqib Talib and his evolution as a leader with the New England Patriots. A clip is quoted below, but click here for the full article.

Aqib Talib feels all the love | Boston Herald
For Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, there’s only been one true way to experience life in the league.

"I’ve been in the NFL since ’08," Talib said. "But I’ve really been in the NFL since November of 2012."

"It’s totally different here," Talib said. "It’s big games after big games. It’s Monday nights after Sunday nights, playoffs. Tom Brady is walking around here. There are countless people and media in the locker room. This is the NFL right here."

While sitting on the bleachers under the scorching sun of the Patriots practice field this past summer, I realized that Aqib Talib was going to be a team leader after watching him at training camp. I remember during one practice early in camp, Logan Ryan intercepted a ball and returned it for a touchdown; Talib, who was standing on the sideline, exploded into a full sprint to be the first to congratulate the rookie on his sensational play.

And during joint practices with the Talib's former team, the Buccaneers, Tavon Wilson got into a scuffle with an opponent. Again, Talib quickly rushed over and pulled Wilson away from the pile.

These two actions showed a new, mature Aqib Talib, and his teammates have continued to embrace him as a defensive leader. The quote from Dont'a Hightower in Howe's article is just one example of Talib's impact, both on and off the field.

Tomorrow's game against the Denver Broncos will be the biggest in Aqib Talib's entire football career. Judging from the quotes coming out the Patriots' locker room this week, I'm expecting him to play the game of his life.