Freeman addresses absences, accountability
The snapshot of Josh Freeman's first week of the season is not a flattering one.
The Bucs' quarterback missed the team photo and subsequent meeting, admitted being late to some other club functions in the past and was stripped of his title of offensive captain.
Calling them 'isolated incidents,' a contrite Freeman said Thursday he is ready to move on and focus on beating the New Orleans Saints.
"Obviously, I know exactly how (it looks),'' Freeman said. "The position of quarterback is a position of leadership and obviously missing the team photo is a big deal...it’s something I feel badly about and it’s obviously uposetting but at the same time I’ve got to put it behind me and get ready to play because like it or not the Saints are coming to town.''
Freeman addressed a laundry list of issues that swirling around One Buc Place, including his relationship with coach Greg Schiano.
A few days after missing the team photo, Bucs players named receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Davin Joseph offensive team captains, denying Freeman the honor for the first time in three years.
A report on ProFootballtalk.com said the Bucs held a player's only meeting before the Jets' game where some questioned the legitimacy of the vote and suggested the results may have been rigged by coach Greg Schiano to prevent Freeman from becoming captain.
"I was not aware of any questioning of the captain's vote, because there isn't any,'' Schiano said.
"My agent called me...that was the first I head somebody said something about coach rigging the ballots or something,'' Freeman said. "Coach would not do that. I’ve got 100 percent confidence. That’s the big thing with coach: trust and accountability. Of course I trust coach.
"I feel like a bunch of talk about me not being a captain kind of takes away from the honor of (Jackson and Joseph) being captains. We’v got a team with eight Pro Bowl guys and every other dynamic of the team switches. Would I want to be captain? Yeah, sure, but it’s not something that’s going to make or break my by any stretch.
Special teams captain Andrew Economos, the Bucs' long-snapper, said he called the meeting Thursday and characterized it as more of a pep talk.
“That there was a player’s only meeting was accurate and obviously Josh missing the photo was accurate,'' Economos said. "Other than that, all the other stuff that tried to get spun around, was not.''