Pats add a headache to address a headache

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Pats add a headache to address a headache

The Patriots have dipped their hand in the metaphorical garbage can once again and drawn out . . . Aqib Talib.

He is, as we say, troubled.

A former first-round pick from Kansas in 2008, Talib was suspended two games for disciplinary reasons in his junior year in college. Before the draft, he admitted to failing three drug tests (weed). And he's currently serving a four-game suspension for performance enhancers.

Talib also got in a fistfight at the rookie orientation symposium in 2008 with another player, got in a fight with a teammate in 2009, got in a fight with a cabbie in 2009 (that earned him a suspension from the 2010 opener) and had gun charges against him dropped in June.

He finds trouble, trouble finds him. Who knows? They hang out, put it that way.

Yet, as with other "troubled" players the Patriots have plucked -- Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco (I should have a button on my keyboard that I can hit which just pops their names up) -- Talib might be nice with some cleaning up.

Comes in, mans one of the corner positions, kicks Devin McCourty to safety full time, plays out the final season of his rookie contract, likes it here, re-signs, and becomes a good player and okay citizen.

Or he may not work out at all. Hell, he could be shooting holes in the solar panels at Patriot Place by Thanksgiving, terrorizing cabbies in Providence, and be sitting on a bale of weed in Foxboro center when the Patriots tell him that "it's not working out." And then he fights them.

These are the things we know:

The Patriots liked him very much in 2008 when he was coming out of Kansas and spent a lot of time working on him and visiting with him before drafting Jerod Mayo in the first round.

Bucs coach Greg Schiano and Bill Belichick are tight, so -- while this is not a sweetheart deal (New England gave up a 2013 fourth-rounder in exchange for Talib and a '13 seventh-rounder) -- the Patriots probably had the inside track to getting this done because they are out of conference for the Bucs, and the Pats knew Tampa Bay wanted to move him.

The Buccaneers decided they wanted to move Talib when they resigned themselves to the fact he would leave at the end of this season as a free agent.

Talib is 6-feet-1, 205, and 26 years old. He has 18 picks and 53 passes broken up in 58 games. He fancies himself a shutdown corner and always wants to cover the opponent's best receiver. He also got destroyed by Hakeen Nicks (10 catches, 199 yards) earlier this season and his play has been below his standards prior to the suspension.

He was not a problem for Schiano this year, according to sources in Tampa, but he is still dogged by maturity issues.

The signing of Talib will bring on the "what price success?" conversation and clucking about the Patriots wanting to have it both ways -- model organization, but one amenable to hiring guys with legal issues if they help the cause.

The Patriots' mindset on this stuff is simple. Every incoming player gets a clean slate. If they dirty said slate, there will be no debate. The player will be gone.

"But what about the children?!"

A) You don't have to have Aqib over for dinner. B) The children -- and everyone else in the house -- will be over it if the Patriots occupy bleak Sundays in January with playoff games.

To the Patriots, the end (winning games, fixing their secondary) justifies the means (hiring a serial jerk to help them win games and cover wide receivers).

Haggerty: Jacobs may not be beloved, but he's Hall of Fame-worthy

Haggerty: Jacobs may not be beloved, but he's Hall of Fame-worthy

If it was based solely on his 42 years as owner of the Boston Bruins, it might be debatable as to whether Jeremy Jacobs would have been selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Bruins have won one championship and been to a handful of Stanley Cup Finals during Jacobs' long stewardship, of course. They also enjoyed the longest running playoff streak (29 years) in NHL history, though it began before he purchased the franchise. Altogether, the B's have won one Cup, four conference championships, two Presidents' trophies, 15 division championships, and 35 Stanley Cup playoff berths during the Jacobs Era.

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But Jacobs didn't make the Hall of Fame solely on his accomplishments with the Bruins organization. He's being inducted in the "builder” category, which is defined as "coaching, managerial or executive ability, or ability in another significant off-ice role, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her organization or organizations and to the game of hockey in general.”  In addition to overseeing the Bruins over the last four-plus decades, he has been a power broker at the league level for just as long.

"I am flattered to be included in with this great group of 2017 inductees, and I am humbled to be included with the legends of hockey that went before me,” said Jacobs. "Owning the Boston Bruins for 42 years has been one of the most rewarding honors of my life. I am indebted to our team's leaders and players, but most of all, to our fans, for giving me a broad and deeply appreciative perspective of the game."

The 2011 Stanley Cup victory was the overriding on-ice moment in his stewardship of the team, and the Jacobs family has had a major, altruistic impact in Boston. No one should overlook the Boston Bruins Foundation, which has touched so many lives with the $28 million that's been awarded to those in need since its inception in 1993.

Unfortunately, Jacobs will always have a reputation with a large portion of the Bruins fan base that his ownership wasn't willing to spend enough for truly competitive teams. At times he was viewed as an absentee owner living in Buffalo, overseeing the team from afar while Harry Sinden ran the operation. Those fans hold that grudge even today, despite the Bruins consistently spending to the salary cap ceiling while fielding competitive teams. They view Monday's Hall of Fame announcement as something akin to Montgomery Burns being inducted into the Springfield Hall of Fame.

Cam Neely disagrees.

"As a player, I knew of Mr. Jacobs' passion for the Bruins,” said Neely, who has served as Bruins president for nearly a decade after a Hall of Fame playing career highlighted by his years in Boston. "Over the past decade while in the front office, I have seen firsthand his dedication to winning, by consistently providing the Bruins the resources that we need to compete for Stanley Cup Championships and also his unmatched commitment to growing the game of hockey."

That commitment to hockey is a key factor in Jacobs' Hall of Fame selection.

Jacobs was unanimously voted in as chairman of the NHL Board of Governors in 2007, and he's been a major driving force in each of the last couple of oft-contentious CBA negotiations. While Jacobs clearly had a hand in the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season due to a labor dispute, and in the lockout-shortened season of 2013, those CBA negotiations ultimately led to the imposition of a salary cap and a pathway for small-market NHL teams to survive as the cost of doing hockey business continues to go up.

Without Jacobs as an often hawkish, hard-line owner, there's a chance that a team like the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators might not have been able to survive in the NHL, and it's highly doubtful they'd be able to be as competitive as they are now if teams like Toronto, New York and Chicago could outspend everybody else. So there's no denying the seismic impact that Jacobs made at the league-wide level with his leadership and commitment to growing the game, and that the NHL is better off for the battles waged in collective bargaining while he's been in a position of power.

If you polled every single Bruins fan on the street, it's unlikely he'd be a populist choice for the Hall of Fame. The lean budgetary years durinhg the playing days of Neely, Ray Bourque and others will always be part of the Spoked B history. Some will hold those grudges forever, which is part of makes us who we are as a fan base.

But faithful, rabid fans continue to stream into TD Garden, continue to spend money to support their favorite hockey team, and continue to provide the kind of support that's led to a 338-game home sellout streak. It's a sign Jacobs and Bruins ownership continue to do things very right, even if we shouldn't be scheduling any popularity contests anytime soon.

O'Connor: If C's get George, would Griffin be a better fit than Hayward?

O'Connor: If C's get George, would Griffin be a better fit than Hayward?

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor discusses the potential decision the Celtics could have in free agency between Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. If the Celtics are able to sign Paul George, is Griffin a much better fit?