Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Freeman banished to suite for game, agent says

TAMPA — Not only did the Bucs not want Josh Freeman at quarterback Sunday, they didn't want him on the sideline.

Freeman was inactive for the 13-10 loss to the Cardinals and watched the game from a suite at Raymond James Stadium because of what coach Greg Schiano said was a "mutual decision."

But Freeman's agent, Erik Burkhardt, said in a text message that what Schi­ano said was a "lie, obviously."

Freeman, replaced by rookie Mike Glennon, went into the locker room after the game. He declined to comment while on his way to the players' parking lot.

The NFL Network reported Freeman was inactive because he missed more than one meeting last week.

In an interview with ESPN that aired Thursday and Sunday, Freeman said he was, "frustrated, angry. … I don't really understand the decision" of his benching.

Freeman said he didn't believe he could be comfortable being a backup.

"I think it came down to production," said Freeman, who completed 45.7 percent of his passes, with two touchdowns and three interceptions in three games this year.

"I know Mike's a guy they drafted fairly high — third round. The kid has some skill to him. He's a good player. But at the same time, I can't pretend to even be inside Coach Schiano's head.

"I don't think I will ever be comfortable in this (backup) role. But at the same time, I have to try my best. And it's really all I can do."

Freeman repeated his desire to be traded: "No question."

After the game, Schiano was asked why Freeman was not on the field.

"A mutual decision," he said. "A lot of our inactive players — depending on the reason they're inactive — they go up to an inactive suite in the stadium. We talked about it. And once we decided he was inactive, we felt it was the best scenario.

"With all the happenings of the week, it was the best thing for our team. There's stuff I'm not going to get into. But that was the best thing for our football team."

Did Schiano believe Freeman would be a distraction?

"No, that wasn't it," Schiano said. "We just thought overall it would be better."

For their first three games, the Bucs dressed all three of their quarterbacks. Only Glennon and Dan Orlovsky dressed Sunday.

"It was just … a special situation and mutual decision," Schiano said. "We agreed that this was the best thing."

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