Ex-Bucs QB Freeman 'pumped up' for fresh start with Vikings
Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman spoke Monday night for the first time since he signed with the Minnesota Vikings, saying he's "pumped" to start a new chapter in his NFL career.
"I'm pumped up to be a Minnesota Viking," said Freeman, who will not start Sunday's game for Minnesota as he quickly learns a new offensive system. "I'm just really excited to have the opportunity to be a part of such a storied franchise. ... Something about it just felt right in my heart. I'm definitely fired up."
Freeman was released by the Bucs on Thursday after a difficult descent from the team's starting quarterback to watching the Bucs' last game from the team's "inactive suite" as rookie Mike Glennon took over his job. Asked about what happened between him and Bucs coach Greg Schiano, he acknowledged it's been "a pretty crazy past few weeks," saying he's trying to look forward and not to his past.
"Obviously, he didn't feel I was the guy he wanted leading his team, the caliber of quarterback he wanted behind center," said Freeman, speaking on a conference call with Vikings reporters. "I had a lot of great memories there, a lot of good times with the fellas. Obviously the Glazers and Raheem Morris gave me that opportunity. Four and a half cherished years, but times change, things progress and I'm just fired up to be here in Minnesota. I'm moving forward."
Minnesota now has three quarterbacks who were starters last season, with a former first-round pick in Florida State's Christian Ponder, as well as free-agent signee Matt Cassel, who started last season in Kansas City. Freeman won't be thrust into a starting role immediately, but his contract -- one year and a reported $3-million -- suggests he'll have a chance to take the reins of a 1-3 team before he hits the open market in free agency next spring.
"Is it humbling? Sure," he said. "I think any time something like this happens to anybody in any position, you have to step back, regardless of what you're feeling at the time, you have to look inward. You can't blame all the exteriors. You have to look at it from what you can control, moving forward. I think that's the only way you can go about things with a clear conscience and the right attitude to succeed."
Bucs coach Greg Schiano, who hadn't spoken publicly since Freeman's release, was asked about how things escalated into the team cutting its starting quarterback, but said he wants to focus on his current players.
"He's moved to another team," Schiano said. "I guess the best way to summarize it for us is that we've moved on. That's kind of how I feel. We've moved on and it's time to go."