NFL suspends Talib for poking player in the eye

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The NFL slapped Aqib Talib with a one-game suspension for poking Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in his right eye.

If upheld on appeal, Denver’s star cornerback will miss the Broncos’ game against the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. He’ll also miss out on a $323,529 paycheck on his $5.5 million base salary.

“I sat with Aqib on the plane coming home last night, had a long talk with him,” coach Gary Kubiak said Monday. “He’s wrong. He needs to stay out of the situation. It hurt the team.”

Talib said afterward he didn’t intend to poke Allen, but was only trying to shove him, insisting: “You think I play football to poke people in the eye? It was an honest mistake.”

Kubiak said, “My understanding is that they were jawing at each other. He went to push him — which he shouldn’t do anyway, it doesn’t matter — then, obviously, his hands are inside his face mask. I’m convinced, and after talking to Aqib, that he had no intention of poking anybody in the eye.”

Talib was whistled twice in the final 2 minutes, 25 seconds of Denver’s 27-24 loss at Indianapolis that knocked the Broncos (7-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten. The first was for unnecessary roughness when he poked two fingers into Allen’s face mask after Allen and Von Miller were shouting and shoving following a 2-yard run by Frank Gore.

“From my angle I saw him head-butt Von a little bit,” Talib said after the game. “I went over there and tried to poke his head. I think my hand slipped there and hit his face. He acted like he got into an 18-passenger car wreck. I guess that’s what type of guy he is.”

The second infraction came when linebacker Danny Trevathan was whistled for holding on a chip-shot field goal with 28 seconds left, giving Indy a first down and allowing the Colts to run out the clock. At that point, Talib tauntingly clapped at an official, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“I guess something in the rule book it’s like a too hard of a clap, too-hard-of-a-clap flag,” Talib said.

NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks ruled Monday that Talib’s actions “places his opponent at unnecessary risk of injury and should have been avoided.”

Talib won’t be allowed at the practice facility until Nov. 16 except to arrange for off-site medical treatment or rehabilitation. Derrick Brooks or James Thrash would rule on any appeal, which must be made by Thursday.

The Pro Bowl cornerback has a troubled past, including a four-game suspension in 2012 for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. He also sat out the opener in 2010 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. That stemmed from an altercation with a cab driver.

Until Sunday, Talib had been a model player in Denver since signing a six-year, $57 million free agent contract in 2014. He was arguably their MVP over the first half of the season, leading Denver’s top-ranked defense with three interceptions and two pick-6s.

Although the Broncos lead the league in several defensive categories, they also lead the NFL in personal fouls.

“I’m very concerned,” Kubiak said. “Statistically, we have the No. 1 defense in football, but we’re also the most penalized. We’ve got a great thing going on. We’ve got something that needs to get corrected. We have to find a way in the second half of the season to turn that around.”

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP--NFL

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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