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Broncos CB Aqib Talib won't face NFL discipline after shooting incident

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 4/18/2017 Tom Pelissero, USA TODAY Sports

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The NFL won’t suspend or fine Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib over a June 2016 incident in which police say Talib initially claimed he was shot in the leg by an unknown assailant, only to have his lawyer later say he admitted to shooting himself.

The league’s investigation found Talib’s behavior constituted conduct detrimental to the league, but decided to issue only a disciplinary warning, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.

The NFL will require Talib to complete an approved firearm safety course and provide a list of firearms he owns to league security, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the NFL hadn’t commented publicly.

Talib, 31, was not charged with any crime and there were no allegations he possessed the gun illegally under Texas law.

According to a redacted police report that didn’t identify him by name, Talib suffered a single gunshot wound that entered the rear of his right thigh and exited his right calf. A witness said he heard a single gunshot and then saw Talib lying on the ground, so he put Talib into a 2015 Rolls Royce and brought him to the hospital. Talib told police he didn’t know who shot him.

However, investigators found no evidence of a shooting where Talib claimed it occurred and, in a Sept. 21 meeting with investigators, Talib’s attorney provided a letter stating his client “admitted he shot himself accidentally,” police said in a statement Oct. 5.

In an email to USA TODAY Sports last week, a police spokesman attached the October statement and reiterated the incident is no longer under investigation.

A suspension would’ve been costly for Talib, who is due $11 million this season, as well as the Broncos, who count the veteran cornerback among the key pieces in their defense.

This wasn’t Talib’s first run-in with police or an NFL probe. He was suspended one game and fined an additional game check in 2010 for violating the personal conduct policy after entering a pre-trial program for his alleged assault of a cab driver. In 2011, Talib faced a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon after an altercation in which he was accused of trying of firing shots and trying to pistol whip his sister’s live-in boyfriend, but charges were dropped. Talib also was suspended four games during the 2012 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs – he claimed he took Adderall without a prescription – and one game in 2015 for poking then-Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in the eye.

Perhaps the NFL’s most notorious self-inflicted gunshot wound was suffered in November 2008 by then-New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress in a Manhattan nightclub. The gun was not registered in New York and Burress’ concealed-weapon permit in Florida was expired. In August 2009, he accepted a plea bargain with a two-year sentence on a weapons charge. The NFL announced Burress was suspended and ineligible to sign with any team until he completed his prison term, but would be reinstated upon his release. Burress was released from prison in June 2011 and played two more seasons, one with the New York Jets and another with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero.

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