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Josh Freeman Situation Deteriorating in Tampa Bay

First he's benched, now he's on drugs?!

First he’s benched, now he’s on drugs?!

That’s not to say the situation for recently benched Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has just started to deteriorate—it hasn’t. Much like Freeman’s stats and wins in Tampa Bay, things have been largely in decline for him since former coach Raheem Morris was fired after going 4-12 in 2011.

It marked a complete turnaround from the 11-5 record Freeman led the Bucs to in his first full season as a starter the year prior. He has struggled to return to form under the new offensive system put in place by coach Greg Schiano, who decided last week he had finally seen enough.

Freeman was benched after 19 painfully unproductive starts under Schiano, with each one seemingly worse than the last. He was 7-9 in 2012 and 0-3 this season when the decision was made to bench him in favor of rookie Mike Glennon, who was selected in the third round out of NC State.

In his first start Glennon continued the season trend of these Buccaneers, by wrestling away a defeat from the jaws of victory. They lost to the Cardinals by three points in Week 4, courtesy of two late game interceptions. Clinging to a seven point lead with under five minutes to go, Glennon had absolutely no business throwing the ball to begin with.

His coaches set him up for failure, twice. Makes you wonder how many boneheaded decisions like that have contributed to Freeman’s decline.

As for Freeman, neither he, nor his agent are taking the benching in stride. After the announcement was made that he had lost his starting job, Freeman refused to talk to reporters about his demotion. When he finally did open up, it was only to ask that he be traded before the deadline in October.

His agent, Erik Burkhardt, has publicly accused Schiano of being less than honest with the media, calling claims that a “mutual decision” was reached in the decision to bench his client an “obvious lie.”

Listed as inactive for the game against Arizona on Sunday, Freeman’s absence from the sideline suggests tensions are building in Tampa. Bucs general manager Mark Dominik told USA Today that the organization is open to a trade, but added that they have no intention of just letting him walk away.

Which doesn’t bode well for Freeman’s hope that he’ll be released if the team is unable to negotiate a trade.

And unfortunately for Freeman, his stock took yet another hit on Monday afternoon, when it was reported that he is currently a stage one participant in the NFL’s drug program. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen explained the circumstances of the positive test, which didn’t include the use of any illegal substances.

Which means that while Freeman did test positive—for what he says is Adderall—he is still “in relatively good standing under the program.

  • Side note: Anyone remember the last time an NFL player tested positive for anything that wasn’t Adderall? Either doctors are giving away that stuff like candy, or players need to stop all using the exact same cover story.

Overall, it’s been a pretty terrible month for Freeman in Tampa Bay. Prior to the season he was stripped of his captaincy by his teammates and just three weeks later he was stripped of his job.

The Bucs would be wise to cut ties with him before this mess gets any messier—of course they’re not known for being wise. So expect this to get worse before it gets any better.

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