Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino, who coached Talib in college, knows the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer as well as anyone. While he admits that it was a struggle at first to corral Talib, he turned into a good person during his time in Lawrence.
“I’m very fond of Aqib,” Mangino told the Boston Herald. “I think he’s respectful to people and really is a happy go-lucky guy that is easy to talk with, easy to deal with.
“He needed some discipline and structure in his life like a lot of young players do. The first couple years in our program, we had to get after him a little bit, but I’ll tell you what, he always wanted to please you. When he made a mistake, he was remorseful. He always wanted to please you and do it the right way. The latter part of his career at our place, we had absolutely no problems with him at all. He did everything that was asked of him.”
Even with Talib’s continued maturation through his time in college and into the NFL, he’s still had various run-ins and slip-ups. However, some reports say that he’s starting to turn things around (although he is serving a suspension currently), and that he could end up being a nice fit in New England.
Mangino, who also said that Talib is “very, very excited” to join the Patriots, expects him to fit in well in Foxboro.
“I just think if you look at it from the outside, you’ll say, ‘Boy, this guy is a real problem,’” Mangino told the Herald. “If you get to know him, you get to coach him, you get to be around him every day, you get to interact with him, you’ll say, ‘Hey, this guy isn’t who I thought he was.’ People that think he’s a bad person, after they meet him, they say, ‘Well, he’s an awesome guy.’
“I’m confident. I have my utmost confidence in him that he is going to do some fantastic things in New England, and it’s going to be a good marriage.”
Talib isn’t eligible to join the Patriots until Week 11 when his suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy is up. He was acquired by the Patriots minutes before last week’s trade deadline, along with a seventh-round draft pick, in exchange for a fourth-round pick. He’s set to become a free agent at season’s end.