Freeman reveals ADHD treatment led to voluntary testing
Stung by a breach of confidentiality of his medical status, embattled Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman said Monday he voluntarily agreed to be tested under the NFL’s substance abuse program after switching from Adderall to Ritalin to treat ADHD.
Freeman says he passed 46 league-administered drug tests over the last 18 months at One Buc Place.
The revelation was in response to a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that Freeman was a stage one participant in the league’s substance abuse program.
Freeman, who was benched in Sunday’s 13-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in favor of rookie Mike Glennon, accused members of the Bucs organization who may have witnessed his frequent testing of making harmful assumptions.
“Unfortunately, it appears that some people who may have noticed the testing at my workplace have made hurtful and incorrect assumptions and chosen to disseminate inaccurate and very disturbing information,’’ Freeman said in a statement released Monday night. ”It is a shame that when times have gotten tough, people have chosen to attack the character of others, rather than supporting each other. I remain dedicated and focused to being the best quarterback I can be and to help a team win a championship.’’
Since his benching, Freeman has said he wants to be traded or released. On Wednesday, Bucs coach Greg Schiano said Freeman would serve as the No. 2 quarterback against the Cardinals. But Freeman was inactive Sunday and sent to watch the game from a sky suite at Raymond James Stadium for inactive players. Schiano called it a ‘mutual decision,’ but Freeman’s agent, Erik Burkhardt said that was a ‘lie, obviously.’
Freeman, the Bucs’ 17th overall pick in 2009, saw a decline in his performance near the end of the 2012 season. After going 0-3 and failing to complete 50 percent of his passes in those games, he was replaced by Glennon.
Mortensen reported Sunday that teams interested in acquiring Freeman were entitled to know his status only if he is one strike away from a suspension.
“Let me be very clear. I have NEVER tested positive for any illegal drugs or related substances,’’ Freeman said. “Further, I have agreed to take, and have PASSED 46 NFL-regulated drug tests over the last year and a half.
“Since the confidentiality of my medical status has been publicly violated, I am choosing to address this matter so that grossly erroneous assumptions about me do not persist. Like millions of Americans, I have ADHD and I have been prescribed and permitted to take medication to treat this condition for the entirety of my NFL career. Well over a year ago, I took a different medication for the same condition (Ritalin rather than Adderall) , and to assure everyone that the error was a one-time mistake, I agreed to be voluntarily tested in the “NFL Program”.
“Since that time, I have taken and passed all 46 drug tests I’ve been given, which test for every drug and banned substance imaginable. I agreed to allow such testing to be done at my workplace (team facility) because I spend all of my time there and I have nothing whatsoever to hide or be embarrassed about.’’
Citing a league source, Pro Football Talk reported the National Football League Player’s Association will be “coming after everyone” to determine who violated the confidentiality provisions by leaking news of Freeman’s status.