Freeman speaks about contract limbo, Schiano and winning
Quarterback Josh Freeman says his failure to reach the post-season is more disappointing than the Bucs' decision not to offer him a contract extension heading into the final year of his rookie deal.
Freeman, 25, spoke for the first time Tuesday since a disappointing 7-9 season in 2012 in which he threw a club record 27 touchdowns but had 17 interceptions.
"It bothers me a lot, knowing the type of team we have and our capabilities, being close but not quite getting there,'' Freeman said. "The only reason you play this game is you want to go out and win. You want to win championships and you want to walk away and have a handful of rings. That's why you play the game. The drive is there, the intensity is there. We've just got to find a way to put it all together.''
Freeman is in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract and coach Greg Schiano has said he is 'not married,' to his starting quarterback. Schiano also indicated after the season he wanted to bring in some competition for Freeman, but so far the Bucs have only signed Dan Orlovsky to a restructured contract.
Freeman insists he has a good relationship with Schiano and hasn't paid much attention to comments directed at him by the Bucs head coach.
"The entire off-season, I've been in constant communucation with coach,'' Freeman said. "I had a lot of time and sat down and talk with him about a number of things football related, life related. Me and coach, we've got a great relationship. Every now and then, somebody will call you and say, "Hey man, what's up with you and your coach?' But we know how it is. It's something I'm not really concerned about it. I'm kind of living it and I know how it is.''
"It's interesting, because just talking to different guys, talking to my dad, talking to coach Schiano, talking to a number of people, it's all set up to be a high stress situation. But honestly, I know that's stuff I can't really control right now. All I can control is my day to day process, coming in, trying to get better, being a leader, being the best quarterback I can be for the Buccaneers and leave the rest to God.''
While Freeman said he loves playing in Tampa Bay, he's trying to stay in the moment.
"I give it all I got regardless,'' he said. "I love football, I love my teammates, I love winning. It doesn't really change anything for me. Obviously I love being a Buccaneer. But at the same time, the job is to go out and find a way to win and worrying about any sort of external forces, contract, all this stuff, you can't worry about that. It's not going to help you play better. You've got to focus on the things that will help you go out on Sundays and win.''