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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs have released QB Josh Freeman

3

October

The Tampa Bay Bucs have released quarterback Josh Freeman.

Unable to find a trade for Tampa Bay's beleaguered quarterback, general manager Mark Dominik announced Thursday that the team would cut ties with the 17th overall pick in 2009.

"We made the decision today to release Josh Freeman,'' Dominik said in a statement released by the team. "We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers.''

The Bucs will be responsible for paying Freeman the remainder of his salary, roughly $6.25 million. He is free to sign a new deal with any team.

Freeman, 25, leaves Tampa Bay with franchise records for career touchdowns (80) and completions (1,144) and is second all-time in passing yardage (13,534).

The former Kansas State star looked to be among the league's bright young quarterbacks when he led the Bucs to a 10-6 record in 2010, his first full season as a starter, and threw 25 touchdowns with only six interceptions.

The next season, the Bucs started 4-2 until losing 10 straight games under Raheem Morris, who was fired at the end of the season.

Enter Schiano, who was hired from Rutgers to provide discipline and structure to the Bucs. Freeman struggled at the outset, but following a 1-3 start, he hit his stride as the Bucs won five of their next six games. He set single season club records for passing yards (4,065) and touchdowns (27) but threw 17 interceptions, including 10 in three games during a tailspin in which the Bucs lost five of their last six to finish 7-9.

Freeman never seemed to be Schiano's quarterback, and during the off-season, the Bucs attempted to acquire Kevin Kolb and Carson Palmer to compete with Freeman. Instead, the Bucs wound up drafting Glennon in the third round from North Carolina State.

Freeman's release comes three days after he revealed he voluntarily agreed to enter the league's substance abuse program after, he said, switching from Adderall to Ritalin to treat ADHD. He claimed to have passed 46 league-administered drug tests over the last 18 months at One Buc Place.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported Freeman's involvement in the league's substance abuse program Monday.

On Tuesday, Schiano said he was "absolutely not" the source of confidential information leaked to the media about Freeman's participation in stage one of the program.

Later that afternoon, NFL player's union executive director DeMaurice Smith said he is sufficiently concerned about hearsay evidence that the Bucs may have leaked the confidential information to begin a joint investigation with the league.

[Last modified: Thursday, October 3, 2013 3:41pm]

    

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