Schiano denies 'story' that he changed vote to keep Freeman from being captain
Bucs players cast ballots for team captains last week that were tabulated only by coach Greg Schiano. Quarterback Josh Freeman was not among the elected offensive captains for the first time in four years.
Questions as to the legitimacy of that vote may have prompted a player's only meeting sometime before Sunday’s season opener against the New York Jets. But Schiano insisted Wednesday he did not alter the results of the players’ vote.
Receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Davin Joseph were elected captains. Freeman was not.
"The players vote. The votes are tabulated by me,'' Schiano said Wednesday.
And Freeman wasn't voted a captain by the players?
"That's what I said, yeah,'' Schiano said. "I know there's a story out there. It's 100 percent false. If there was such a thing as a 102 percent, this would be it.’’
Freeman had the C stripped from his shirt for the first time since 2010, when he emerged as the Bucs' full-time starter. He held that position the past two seasons.
During his radio show Tuesday, Freeman said he voted for Vincent and Joseph as offensive captains.
“The simple fact is Davin and Vincent are great leaders,'' Freeman said. "Those are the guys I voted for. Everybody wants to make it out like it's a demotion. I don't look at it like that. They don't look at it like that. Essentially, the conversations, the day to day actions are the same.
"It's something that, Davin coming off his injury and Vincent, the type of off-season and type of year he had last year...I couldn't think of two better guys.''
Former Bucs quarterback Sean King, who is now an NFL analyst on NBC, said Schiano’s micromanaging ways are not going over well with some players.
“This player’s only meeting happened before the New York Jets game,’’ King said. “There's a lot of disarray in Tampa. Some of the players felt there was a unfair counting of the captain's vote.
Greg Schiano is a mico-manager and it’s starting to wear thin with some of the players. "I don't think those guys are currently buying into the my-way-or-the-highway.’’
Schiano, who went 7-9 in his first NFL season after being hired from Rutgers, inherited Freeman, who was the Bucs' first-round draft pick in 2009.
Several times during the off-season, Schiano indicated that he wasn't completely sold on the Bucs' quarterback. In the first news conference after finishing 7-9, Schiano said he wanted to bring in competition at every position, including quarterback.
At the NFL owner's meeting in March, he said he wasn't 'wedded,' to Freeman or any quarterback. A few months later, he said he wouldn't be upset if third round pick Mike Glennon won the starting job.
Tampa Bay also elected not to offer Freeman a contract extension, despite him setting club records in 2012 with the most passing yards (4,065) and touchdowns (27) in a season.
True or not, it only added to the narrative that Schiano may be looking to replace the Bucs’ quarterback.
Schiano said he did not know where the story about the captain's vote being rigged had originated. But it apparently became enough of an issue in the locker room to prompt a player's only meeting, according to Pro Football Talk.
"The players know who they voted for,'' Schiano told the Times Wednesday.
Jackson was elected captain prior to the 2012 season, shortly after arriving as a free agent from the Chargers. Joseph missed last season on injured reserve after tearing his patellar tendon in the third preseason game agianst the Patriots.
Freeman, 25, is in the final year of his contract and did not play particularly well in the Bucs' 18-17 loss to the New York Jets.