Josh Freeman released by Tampa Bay Bucs
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finally given up on trying to trade Josh Freeman. Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times first reported on Thursday afternoon that the Bucs have officially released Freeman.
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Tampa Bay called all 31 other NFL teams in an attempt to work out a trade before simply cutting their losses and deciding to eat the roughly $6 million remaining on Freeman’s contract.
The release ends what quickly became an embarrassing soap opera for the Bucs organization over the first several weeks of the season. Freeman was benched last week in favor of rookie Mike Glennon after getting off to a rough start in the team’s first three games of the year. On Monday, reports surfaced that Freeman had entered the first stage of the NFL’s drug program. He later announced in a statement that he takes Adderall for ADHD and once mistakenly took Ritalin last year instead. He also indicated that he believed the Bucs were responsible for leaking the information about his status with the drug program, which is supposed to be confidential.
On Tuesday, Freeman was kept out of a Tampa Bay team meeting. There were conflicting reports about why that happened, one of which claimed the team wanted to make it look like Freeman had missed another meeting. Another report indicated that head coach Greg Schiano simply excused him from the meeting so he could talk to him privately about what had happened the day before.
The varying reports that surfaced over the past week reeked of a smear campaign. Freeman reportedly asked the team for his release at one point, but for whatever reason they thought they might find a trade partner with a divorce a virtual certainty. I’m sure everyone will be relieved to move on.