The idea that Aqib Talib lacks a solid work ethic doesn’t make any sense to one of his closest confidants.

Mark Mangino, who coached Talib at Kansas and remains close to the Patriots cornerback, has little reason to believe Talib was anything but a diligent player behind the scenes. Mangino noted yesterday Talib loved practice and preparation as he progressed through Kansas and was highly regarded by many in the Buccaneers organization last summer.

Therefore, it didn’t add up that Talib would thrive under Greg Schiano’s regimented system with the Bucs and then forget how to go about it under Bill Belichick. It was reported this week that Talib didn’t go the extra mile, which could limit the Patriots’ desire to give the free agent a multiyear contract.

“Not (Talib), because he loves to play football,” Mangino said. “He enjoyed practice time. He hustled, made plays, did all of his drill work full speed, played hard in the games, did what was asked of him in the weight room, got bigger and stronger when he was with us. I find that a little hard to believe.

“Things can change, obviously, but I stopped into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp (last summer). I visited with several members of the staff, front office people, strength coaches, trainers, assistant coaches. To the person, they told me what a great job Aqib was doing. ‘He is showing leadership. He is working his tail off in the (organized team activities). He’s been a leader. He is really busting his butt, and he is really working hard.’

“That doesn’t always happen. I have been to training camps in the past where I’ve had a former player that I’ve coached, and the coaches have come up to me and say, ‘This player doesn’t work hard. He’s not into it.’ They’ll tell you the truth. When you go to these NFL places, they don’t mince any words.”

Mangino made sure to express that he isn’t in the Patriots’ locker room, so he can’t know for sure, first-hand, if Talib is following the workout protocol. Yet, Belichick and Talib’s teammates routinely backed his work ethic and attitude throughout his three-month tenure with the Pats, both on and off the record. Mangino’s opinion further backs that.