TAMPA — Another battlefront has emerged between the Bucs and QB Josh Freeman.
Freeman was fined twice for a total of $31,500 last month by the club, SI.com reported Wednesday. One was for conduct detrimental to the team — last week's unauthorized interview with ESPN — the other for missing a meeting.
Freeman is appealing the fines through the players union and disputes he missed a meeting because he was sent to the training room and told to remain there, according to the report.
"The fine potentially sets up a scenario under which Tampa Bay can suspend Freeman without pay," Jim Trotter of SI.com wrote.
"That would allow the team to attempt to trade the fifth-year QB while not paying a portion of his (remaining $6.4 million) salary."
Freeman was benched last week for rookie Mike Glennon, who started Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Cardinals.
Taping players? Another example of Greg Schiano's grip on the team emerged. The coach has his staff videotape players on the sideline to single out those laughing or horsing around during losses, according to a story written by Andrew Brandt for SI.com. Players also have told their agents about coaches roaming the locker room, which is normally a "sanctuary" away from coaches, the report said.
Penn rips media: Friend and teammate LT Donald Penn said Wednesday that he's unhappy by the way the media has treated Freeman.
"Y'all, the media," Penn said. "Y'all are trying to find every way to try to (tarnish) his character and try to make him seem like he's not a good guy; like he's not a good person; like this is all his fault. That's y'all reporting the stuff. Don't try to switch it up like it's not y'all."
Penn took exception to ESPN's Chris Mortensen reporting that Freeman, replaced last week as the starter, was a Stage 1 participant in the NFL's substance-abuse program. That report prompted Freeman to disclose he takes medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, voluntarily entered the program and has never tested positive for a banned substance.
Tiquan redux: For the second year in a row, the team brought back WR Tiquan Underwood after cutting him in preseason.
Underwood, who played Schiano at Rutgers, practiced Wednesday wearing his familiar No. 11 jersey. He caught 28 passes for 425 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games last season after totaling 11 for 141 yards over his first three.
"I'm just trying to run with this opportunity. I'm happy to be back here playing football again and am just trying to pick up where I left off," said Underwood, who trained in California after being cut. "It's part of the business, and being in it five years, I understand that now. You just have to be ready when the call comes."
Underwood was signed and former Stanford WR Chris Owusu promoted from the practice squad on Tuesday while WR Kevin Ogletree and former Gator S Ahmad Black were cut.
"We're looking for Ti to come in and play at a high level that we've seen him play at," Schiano said. "We're looking for (Owusu) to play well, also with (Eric) Page and (Russell) Shepard there as well. We need all the (receivers) to bring their game and add to Vincent (Jackson) and Mike (Williams)."
Ogletree to Detroit: The Lions, without WR Nate Burleson indefinitely because of a broken left arm, signed Ogletree.
Two moves: The Bucs claimed S Kelcie McCray off waivers from the Dolphins, where he had zero tackles in four games. He signed with Miami last year as an undrafted rookie out of Arkansas State and spent 2012 on injured reserve with a broken foot.
Also, TE Matt Veldman was added to the practice squad. The 6-foot-7, 255-pounder played at I-AA power North Dakota State and spent last season on injured reserve with the Jaguars. He spent the preseason with the Lions.
The Bucs are limited at tight end with Tom Crabtree (ankle) out and Luke Stocker and Nate Byham recently placed on injured reserve.
LONG WEEKEND: The Bucs will have four consecutive days off, starting today, and Wednesday's practice opened with most starters working indoors while backups (and QB Mike Glennon) worked on the field. Schiano said the players, including Freeman, were outside later in drills. The team resumes preparations for the Oct. 13 home game against Philadelphia on Monday.