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Reflecting on Aqib Talib's career with the Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Aqib Talib may very well have saved his best for last.

On Sept. 17, 2017, he undercut a back-shoulder throw from Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to wide receiver Dez Bryant and took off.

Talib had certainly turned in more acrobatic and improbable plays during his career with the Broncos. This 103-yard interception return for a touchdown didn't require him to elude many tacklers, and the Broncos' win over Dallas had already been secured.

But his final pick-six as a Bronco — which began in the north end zone and ended with a leap into the south stands — vaulted him over Deion Sanders and gave him sole possession of fourth place on the NFL's career interception returns for touchdown list.

The return, which is tied for the third-longest pick-six in NFL history, also embodied Talib's mentality with the Broncos.

After he secured the interception, he could have taken a knee in the end zone or stepped out of bounds when Cole Beasley tried to tackle him.

Talib, though, was never one to be content with the bare minimum on the football field. If there was a play to be made, Talib was going to make it.

Just like he did when he made a diving, one-handed interception of Andy Dalton in 2014.

Or when he gave the Denver the lead over Baltimore with a weaving pick-six in Week 1 of the 2015 season.

Or when he jumped in front of an Andrew Luck throw to help the Broncos win another game.

During his four years in Denver, Talib totaled 11 interceptions, six pick-sixes and a pair of forced fumbles. En route to a Super Bowl 50 victory, Talib tallied six pass deflections in three games.

Over and over, Talib showed his value as a big-play cornerback who could handle the toughest of receivers.

And he was almost always recognized for that ability. He earned four of his five career Pro Bowl nods while with the Broncos, and his lone First-Team All-Pro selection came in 2016 when both he and Chris Harris Jr. were tabbed for the honor.

Talib will now continue his career with the Los Angeles Rams, as the Broncos officially executed a deal for a fifth-round draft pick when the new league year began Wednesday at 2 p.m. MT.

"We'd like to thank Aqib for being such an important part of our team during his four seasons as a Bronco," President of Football Operations/GM John Elway said. "He brought a confidence, attitude and big-play ability to our defense that helped us win a lot of games, including Super Bowl 50. All of us have a lot of great memories from Aqib's time in Denver, and we wish him the best in Los Angeles."

The trade will give 2014 first-round draft pick Bradley Roby the opportunity to step into a starting role, but there will be plenty of time to share in the eager anticipation for Roby's time on the field.

For now, take a moment to appreciate Talib's greatness and the way in which he turned every pass play into a chance to see an unbelievable display of athletic aptitude.

From all of us in Broncos Country: Thank you, Aqib.

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