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Aqib Talib deserves suspension based on how NFL handled Vontaze Burfict

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The recent accidental shooting Aqib Talib was involved with is just the latest in a long history of violence with him. Based on how the NFL suspended Vontaze Burfict for repeat offenses, the same should happen to Talib.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

You've probably heard by now that Aqib Talib is in a bit of hot water for a shooting incident that took place last week.

The Broncos' Pro Bowl cornerback reportedly was shot in the leg over the weekend. Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network originally reported the news Sunday after Talib was hospitalized to treat a gunshot wound, but didn't need to undergo surgery, according to ESPN's Ed Werder, who added Sunday that the Dallas Police Department is investigating the shooting.

"Everything was a blur, and I was too intoxicated to remember what happened," Talib told Dallas police, according to WFAA-TV's Rebecca Lopez, who also notes there's conflicting info about the location in which Talib was shot. There's also conflicting reports about whether Talib accidentally shot himself, or if he was shot by someone else.

ESPN's Adam Schefter later reported that the bullet entered and exited Talib's leg without hitting any arteries or ligaments and required only stitches. The Broncos have met with Talib at their complex and he's even taking part in team meetings now while rehabbing the wound.

That's the good news for Talib, but that should also be followed by some bad news at some point before the 2016 NFL regular season kicks off. A multiple-game suspension is something that needs to come down based on the NFL's tendency to punish players who are repeat offenders.

Whether it's the substance abuse program, the personal-conduct policy or on-field player safety rules, the league tends to suspend players who commit multiple infractions in one of those three areas.

For Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, that came in the form of multiple player safety infractions over his first four years in the NFL, which led to a three-game suspension to start the 2016 season. This came despite Burfict having not so much as a sniff of off-the-field problems since entering the league.

The same cannot be said for Talib in either regard. In terms of personal conduct, Sunday's shooting incident is just the latest in a string of gun and/or physical violence he's been involved in since coming to the NFL in 2008 as a first-round pick (20th overall) by the Bucs.

At the NFL rookie symposium in July of 2008, Talib was involved in a fistfight with fellow Bucs rookie Cory Boyd.

In May of 2009,  Talib allegedly struck teammate Torrie Cox near the eye while wielding his helmet in an altercation with offensive tackle Donald Penn.

In August of 2009, Talib allegedly battered a taxi driver and was arrested by Florida Highway Patrol while being charged with resisting arrest without violence and simple battery. Talib later agreed to a pre-trial program with prosecutors and reaches an undisclosed financial settlement with the driver, but the NFL still gave him a whopping one-game suspension in 2010 for that 'violation' of the personal-conduct policy.

The biggest black mark on Talib's record came in March of 2011 when police in Garland, Texas issued a felony warrant for Talib for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after accusing him of firing a gun at his sister's boyfriend. He was later indicted in May of 2011. In June of 2012, the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence and character concerns with the accuser. He never was suspended for the alleged attack on his sister's boyfriend.

Then in 2012, Talib was suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

In the 2015 NFL season, Talib stayed clean off the field, but did incur a number of personal-foul penalties by the NFL, including a one-game suspension for jabbing the eye of Colts tight end Dwayne Allen.

Later in the season during Super Bowl 50, Talib was called for two personal fouls. One was a face mask on Panthers receiver Philly Brown, where Talib tore Brown to the ground violently by the facemask. Another foul Talib incurred was for pushing Panthers receiver Ted Ginn Jr. after a play had ended. The NFL reportedly considered suspending Talib, though no such punishment has come.

Now, Talib is being investigated for this shooting incident, which could have involved several broken laws.

Sound like a repeat offender?

Burfict has been considered a repeat offender by the league for his on-field issues, which is why he's sitting out for the first three games of 2016. At the end of the day, it's probably fair that Tez sits out a game or two, but three for what he's done compared to Talib's history of off-field and on-field infractions? That seems silly.

I'm not calling on the NFL to suspend Talib. I'm calling on the NFL to be fair with all of its players, which means neither Burfict nor Talib should be on the field in Week 3 when the Bengals and Broncos face off.