Talib hopes to make most of opportunity with Patriots

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Talib hopes to make most of opportunity with Patriots

FOXBORO -- Aqib Talib smiled wide as he approached his new locker at Gillette Stadium. There was a hoard of media members crowded around, anticipating his arrival.

"I was waiting for it," Talib said of the attention he received. "I knew what was coming. I got the heads up."

The crowd on Sunday at Gillette Stadium will be bigger, and all eyes will be glued to the new Patriots cornerback to see if he will be able to contribute immediately to the team's pass defense, which ranks as the fourth-worst in the league in pass yards allowed per game (285.3).

For his part, Talib wouldn't say what his role will be against the Colts, only that he's ready for anything.

"Just coming in to learn quick as possible," he said. "Work hard and see what I can do to help the team. I'm just coming in and doing what's asked to be done. If that's help right away, I'll help right away. If that's help down the road, I'll help down the road. I'm just coming in, doing what's asked to be done."

One area in which it appears as though he's already up to speed: He has Patriots Speak down pat. Not bad for a player who was only able to have contact with the team starting on Monday after serving a four-game suspension for using performance enhancers.

He was traded from the Buccaneers to the Patriots just before the trade deadline two weeks ago in exchange for a New England fourth-round pick.

Talib said that when he met with coach Bill Belichick, the two did not discuss the 26-year-old's checkered past.

"We kinda just talked straight football," Talib said. "He didn't bring up the past, I didn't bring up the past. He didn't bring up the future, I didn't bring up the future. We're kinda just taking it one day at a time."

His new Patriots teammates have embraced him. Quarterback Tom Brady made a point to introduce himself and offer whatever help he could.

Brady said he's liked what he's seen from Talib in the two practices they've had together.

"Yeah, hes been competing hard out there," Brady said. "Its good work for us. Hes been fun to have out there. Ive had a few conversations with him. Well see. Hopefully he can help."

His defensive teammates hope so, too. And though Talib is still in the process of getting caught up with a new scheme, they think he's capable of chipping in soon.

"I think he'll do a real good job for us," Vince Wilfork said. "Hopefully he will. He's a hell of a player so. We brought him in for a reason and that's to help this ball club. Hopefully he can do that. We got a bunch of good guys in here that want to win and have a passion for this game. Hopefully that shows Sunday and we continue to win because that's what it's about at the end of the day."

"He's come in an he's tried to learn all the schemes," Jerod Mayo said, "and he's studied a lot of film and he's learning the Colts. And that's all you can ask for."

Talib has played a lot of man coverage in his five year career, but he says he's comfortable in zone packages as well. Again, he said whatever the team asks of him, he'll do.

"For a corner, you can almost play for any team," he said. "It's football. You gonna play one of eight coverages. I've done it all before. I'm just doing what's being called out there."

Now the Patriots just need to see if he can be an improvement over some of the other players they've tried in the secondary this season.

Talib's hopeful to make the most of his chance.

"It's a great opportunity with a great organization," he said. "Just to come in and do what I can to help win some ball games."

Report: Marchand agrees to eight-year extension with Bruins

Report: Marchand agrees to eight-year extension with Bruins

The Bruins took care of their biggest priority today as they reached agreement with Brad Marchand on an eight-year contract extension, according to several reports.

PROFILE: Joe Haggerty's preseason look at Brad Marchand

Elliotte Friedman reports Marchand has agreed to an eight year, $49 million extension ($6.125 million per season) that will effectively allow him to finish his career in Boston.

It was felt the Bruins would have been playing with fire if they allowed Marchand -- a 37-goal scorer last year -- to start the season unsigned, especially after he ripped up the World Cup of Hockey competition on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Sidney Crosby. Bruins president Cam Neely told CSN a couple of weeks ago that Boston was aiming to get the deal done with Marchand prior to the start of the regular season. In fact, they managed to get it done before the start of even the preseason.

Marchand has consistently said that he wants to finish out his career with the Bruins, who drafted and developed him and with whom he turned into an elite player in the last couple of years. He’s clearly taking a hometown discount to stick with Boston.

This is what Marchand said to CSN on breakup day last April:

“I obviously love being a part of this organization, this city and this team, and I don’t think this team is done having some good runs. I would love to be a part of this organization for the rest of my career, but the reality is when you look around the league that it doesn’t happen for many guys. We’ll deal with it when the time comes.”

Well, the time came and Marchand put his money where his sometimes big mouth usually is. The Bruins agitator easily could have demanded a yearly salary of $7 million-plus in free agency.

Credit to Don Sweeney and Neely for closing the deal with Marchand, and ticking one very important thing off their checklist that will help make the Bruins great again.