ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Former Broncos star cornerback and Super Bowl 50 champion Aqib Talib has announced that his NFL career has come to a close.
Talib, who joined the Broncos as a free agent in 2014, spent a third of his 12-year career in Denver, famously helping lead one of the best defenses in league history as part of the "No-Fly Zone" secondary.
Leading that elite group, Talib made the Pro Bowl in each season he played for the Broncos, as the defense ranked first against the pass in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016. The secondary was perhaps at its finest in the 2015 postseason as it helped hold three of the league's top four scoring teams to just 14.7 points per game.
Drafted by the Buccaneers in 2008 with the 20th-overall pick, Talib made his name as a physical and very dangerous cornerback to play against because of his play recognition ability, willingness to take risks on occasion and great hands. In his first three seasons, he picked off 15 passes, and by the end of his career, he had totaled 35. Prior to retiring, Talib was tied for the most career interceptions among active players.
What made Talib an even greater talent was his ability to turn interceptions into scoring opportunities. He finishes his career ranked fourth all time in interceptions returned for touchdowns, one ahead of Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, whom Talib idolized growing up in Texas.
Talib's Broncos career ended when he was traded in 2018 to the Los Angeles Rams, with whom he made one final Super Bowl appearance. Last year, Talib suffered a rib injury and was placed on injured reserve before being traded to Miami, though he did not appear in any games for the Dolphins.
In declaring his retirement on Twitter, Talib revealed that he declined a contract offer from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to help cover tight ends in his defense. Upon examining the realities of his physical limitations that have come with aging and how those intertwine with his expected role, Talib realized that it was time to hang up his cleats.
In retiring from his playing career, Talib also announced that he was moving on to a career in media and starting a podcast called "Call to the Booth" with co-host Harrison Sanford.
"Aqib Talib is officially retired," Talib said. "I'm bringing my talents to the booth. Football gave me so much in life, I'm addicted to it now, Harrison. I can't get away from the game. That's why I'm in the booth now."