By Tom Krasniqi
The firestorm of controversy surrounding Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman continues to swirl around the team. The circus has taken center stage at One Buc Place.
Some are accusing the team of “smearing” Freeman through the media by leaking information to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that Freeman is in Stage 1 of a drug program. Freeman released a statement on Monday night, stating that he used a banned substance to treat ADHD. Freeman went on to stay that he believed that someone inside the Bucs organization had volunteered that confidential information.
Head coach Greg Schiano was asked if he was the source of the leak. “Absolutely not,” Schiano said emphatically after Tuesday’s practice.
Schiano was asked if he knew about Freeman being in the program. “By NFL rules, I really can’t comment on that.”
Whether the organization wants to admit it or not, Freeman will continue to be a big distraction as long as he’s still on the team. Schiano says the “strong locker room” is pushing past this.
“I don’t know that, I don’t sense that,” Schiano replied when asked if the Freeman issue is a distraction for the team. “I think we have a football team that’s very angry about how we started the season and we’re trying to get it rectified.”
And then there’s the prospect of dealing the NFL Players Association. Union head DeMaurice Smith was in town on Tuesday to address the Bucs players on a routine trip and says they are investigating the Freeman leak.
“We are sufficiently concerned about what we heard to begin an investigation,” said Smith. The union head says there are confidentiality rules in place regarding medical information and promises that if there’s evidence that someone within the Bucs organization leaked that info, “no will be exempt from the consequences.”
Just what the Bucs need. If starting 0-4 wasn’t bad enough, now the team is dealing with all sorts of distractions. They don’t have anyone to blame but themselves.
News & Notes:
- NFLPA union head DeMaurice Smith says the union has filed a grievance of behalf of kicker Lawrence Tynes against the Bucs in connection to the MRSA situation. Smith says he has “significant concerns about the manner in which that player and other players’ safety was handled by the team.”
- The team released WR Kevin Ogletree and waived safety Ahmad Black. Ogletree never fit it and didn’t help his own cause with some costly drops. Black has been on shaky ground since the Saints game when he came under fire for his reckless penalty and showboating after a personal foul hit on Saints TE Jimmy Graham. The NFL fined Black $21,000 for that hit.
- With Ogletree gone, WR Chris Owusu was promoted from the practice squad. WR Dan Buckner released from the practice squad.
- The Bucs will re-sign WR Tiquan Underwood. His #11 jersey and locker has already been prepped.
- The tight end position continues to be decimated. Nate Byham (calf) was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. He’s done for the season.
- On his radio show on Monday, here’s Schiano regarding the rushing of the victory formation: “If there’s time on the clock, run the play. I’d like people to quit complaining, and that’s what we’re going to do, and get ready for it.” Schiano went on to say that his players were fine with the tactic. The Cardinals weren’t happy about it. Kicker Jay Feely, a local product out of Jesuit, tweeted on Tuesday: “Schiano said: ‘And if anybody saw it, Gerald McCoy was shaking his head telling [Arizona], ‘We’re coming.’ Tampa DLine was apologizing.” Doesn’t sound like the Bucs players are on board with it, does it? Schiano said on Tuesday that if the players didn’t want to do it, he would stop.
- OL Gabe Carimi says he was afflicted with a fever/infection (not MRSA) as well as mono. Carimi lost about 20 pounds and doesn’t know when he’ll return.
- TE Tom Crabtree says he had a setback last week as he continues to deal with a high ankle sprain. Crabtree says he has a shot to return for the Eagles game.
- I asked RT Demar Dotson if the offensive line is underperforming: “Yeah you can say that.”
- After the bye week, the Bucs will host the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday October 13. You can catch the game on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM with our coverage beginning at 9am with the Floor & Décor Countdown To Kickoff show.
- For the latest Bucs news, keep it locked all day long on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home of the Bucs and the best Bucs coverage. Don’t forget to check out the Bucs blog at 620wdae.com for the latest news and audio clips.