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Report: Josh Freeman was repeatedly late to meetings with Vikings

Josh FreemanJosh Freeman seems to be exhibiting a pattern of flaky behavior.

Freeman was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season for his poor play, and reports said he was not acting like a team leader. Freeman was not voted a team captain, and he later missed the team photo. There were reports that he was deactivated for a game because he missed team meetings, was tardy, and lacked overall accountability. It looks like that pattern repeated in Minnesota.

Freeman chose to sign with the Vikings after being released in early October. He started a game in Week 7 — just two weeks after signing with the team — and put together one of the most disastrous QB outings of the year. Freeman went 20-of-53 for 190 yards and an interception in an embarrassing 23-7 loss to the New York Giants. He complained of concussion symptoms the next day and did not take another snap at quarterback the rest of the season.

On Tuesday, USA Today’s Tom Pelissero reported that Freeman was repeatedly late to meetings and frequently one of the last players to the facility. From his report:

Four people with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that Freeman was late for numerous meetings in his roughly three months with the Vikings. A third player said Freeman often was among the last players to the facility.

Pelissero also says the decision to start Freeman at quarterback when he clearly wasn’t ready to lead the offense perplexed many players. Freeman’s agent said the reports of his client missing meetings was “false,” but it’s difficult to believe him now that we’ve heard the same story from two different teams.

There was a time when Freeman, a former 1st-round pick by the Bucs, looked like one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Now it looks like his superb 2010 season was an exception and that he will never repeat that success again. And with the type of reputation he’s earning, he probably won’t get another chance to be a starting quarterback.

Josh Freeman to start for Minnesota Vikings

Josh Freeman BucsThe Minnesota Vikings announced on Wednesday that Josh Freeman will get the start at quarterback on Monday night against the New York Giants. Freeman signed with the Vikings just over a week ago, days after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It was previously reported that Freeman had a chance to start this week for his new team as long as he could familiarize himself with the playbook in time. Christian Ponder, who began the season as Minnesota’s quarterback, has been nursing a rib injury. Matt Cassel played well in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers before the bye week, but he threw two interceptions in a blowout loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Simply put, the Vikings probably can’t do any worse. Freeman has a strong arm and plenty of experience, even if he did play poorly this season in Tampa Bay. He has proven he can win games at the NFL level, which is something that has been a challenging task for the Vikings this season.

When Freeman starts on Sunday, he’ll become the first NFL quarterback to start for two teams in one season since Kyle Orton started for the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos in 2011. Now we’ll be able to get a better feel for whether or not his poor play in Tampa was the direct result of a tarnished relationship with head coach Greg Schiano.

Josh Freeman chooses to sign with Vikings

Josh Freeman BucsJosh Freeman has chosen to sign with the Minnesota Vikings days after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally released him.

Freeman was also being pursued by the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, and San Francisco 49ers according to reports, before he decided Minnesota was the best place for him.

Jay Glazer reports that running back Adrian Peterson sold Freeman on the Vikings. Glazer also says GM Rick Spielman told Freeman how much he liked the quarterback around the time of the draft.

Freeman is set to make $3 million the rest of the season even though the Vikings only have 12 games left. He is expected to compete with Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel for the starting job.

As another interesting note, Glazer says the Vikings wanted Freeman to sign a two-year deal, but the quarterback chose to sign a 1-year deal because he wants to be a free agent after the season.

Even though the Vikings are paying Freeman pretty good money, I don’t see him becoming the team’s quarterback for at least four weeks. Not only does he need to familiarize himself with the team’s offensive schemes, plays, and language, but Minnesota already has two other quarterbacks of similar ability.

Cassel played last weekend threw for two touchdowns to get the team its first win of the season. He’s good enough to look decent for a few more games before they think about a switch. Ponder, meanwhile, has a fractured rib that is also reportedly near his heart. The team likely wants him to miss another month before bringing him back.

In my opinion, the Vikings are just shuffling the deck, not adding cards. Three C-level quarterbacks does not add up to one good one. They still need to find a franchise QB, and they’re probably not winning more than six games this year regardless of who’s playing QB.

Josh Freeman released by Tampa Bay Bucs

Josh Freeman BucsThe 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.

Josh Freeman kept out of team meeting

Josh FreemanJosh Freeman was kept out of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team meeting on Tuesday morning, but the reason for the absence is disputed.

Jay Glazer reported on FOX Football Daily that the Bucs QB was told by the team not to go into a team meeting. Freeman apparently was told to wait in the trainer’s room while the meeting took place. Glazer says sources told him the intent was to make it look like Freeman missed another team meeting.

Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik confirms that Freeman did not attend the meeting, but he termed things differently.

Dominik told Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud that Freeman was excused from a 7:45 am meeting because head coach Greg Schiano wanted to talk to him about everything that transpired the day before.

“Because of all that happened Monday night, Greg wanted to meet with (Freeman),” Dominik said, via Stroud. “I excused him and told Josh hold tight until 8 a.m. Josh did everything else today. He didn’t miss anything. Coach wanted to talk to him about how we’re going to move forward with him.”

On Monday it was reported that Freeman was in stage one of the league’s drug program. Freeman was furious that this private information was made public and indicated in a statement that he felt there was an ongoing smear campaign. Freeman is hoping the team will trade or release him.

Josh Freeman reportedly in stage one of drug program

Josh Freeman BucsJosh Freeman wants out of Tampa Bay after being benched as the team’s starting quarterback and listed as inactive for Sunday’s Week 4 game. Because of his struggles on the field and high salary, Freeman doesn’t have very much trade value. But his value may be even lower because he is part of the NFL’s drug program.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported on “Monday Night Countdown” that Freeman is in the league’s drug program as a stage one participant. Stage one participants are not one strike away from suspension, but Freeman is still subject to random testing.

Mortensen also said that Freeman has a prescription exemption for a drug that would otherwise be considered a banned substance. Mortensen reported that Freeman is in good standing in the program.

Freeman later responded to the word of his status in the league’s drug program being released. He said in a statement that he takes Adderall for ADHD (like half of the other players in the league). He also says he tested positive for Ritalin last year after mistakenly taking that instead of Adderall.

Freeman’s comments in his statement indicate he believes the Bucs are responsible for word of his status in the drug program leaking.

“Unfortunately, it appears that some people who may have noticed the testing at my workplace have made hurtful and incorrect assumptions and chosen to disseminate inaccurate and very disturbing information,” Freeman said in the statement. “It is a shame that when times have gotten tough, people have chosen to attack the character of others, rather than supporting each other.”

Freeman is making $8.43 million this season and will be a free agent after the season. He reportedly is open to restructuring his contract if that would make him more attractive to other teams.

It’s hard to believe that Freeman could have had as good of a season as he did in his second year — he went 10-6 and threw for 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions — and now already be a backup for the rest of his career. I’m not surprised that Freeman lost the starting job based on the way he was playing, I’m just surprised he once played as well as he did. He was really, really good in 2010.

Josh Freeman reportedly benched for rookie Mike Glennon

Josh-Freeman-BucsTampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has reportedly decided to bench quarterback Josh Freeman in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Glennon is expected to start against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

The Bucs are off to an 0-3 start, and many of their struggles center around the poor play of Freeman. Through three games, Freeman has thrown just two touchdowns and three interceptions. He has an abysmal passer rating of 59.3, but Schiano had endorsed him as the starter as recently as Monday.

“Josh is our starter,” Schiano said, via ESPN.com. “That’s where we are. He’s done some good things and he’s done some things that we’d like to change and he’d like to change. But it’s the whole offensive unit. We need to be more precise. We need to be coached more precisely.”

Things change quickly in the NFL. Schiano was not with the team when Freeman was drafted. A recent report indicated that Schiano’s relationship with Freeman was “beyond repair” after the head coach sold his quarterback out over a missed team photo. Schiano drafted Glennon, a former North Carolina State star, in the third round of April’s draft. It was only a matter of time before he handed him the reigns.

Tampa Bay has a bye week after facing a Cardinals team that ranks 26th in the NFL against the pass, so Schiano probably felt that now was as good a time as any to make the switch. Look for the team to attempt to trade Freeman now ahead of the deadline, though his value has officially hit rock bottom.