Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman can learn from headlines

Bucs first-round pick Josh Freeman can easily study the perils that come with the fame of an NFL quarterback.

Times

Bucs first-round pick Josh Freeman can easily study the perils that come with the fame of an NFL quarterback.

There are lessons in the headlines. There are warnings in the broadcasts.

If you are Josh Freeman, heir apparent, perhaps you should have been reading the coverage all along.

He is on the brink of his career now. Freeman, the Bucs' Next Big Thing at quarterback, is one signature and 10 days away from his first training camp. And as any quarterback will tell you, that's when the real learning begins.

How quickly will Freeman play? It depends on how fast he can soak up the knowledge. More than with any other position in any other sport, that's the key to playing quarterback. A young passer has to learn plays and progressions, coverages and situations, teammates and tendencies.

For Freeman, that means there is a lot of work to come.

On the other hand, if the kid has been paying attention, he could have learned a lot this offseason.

The best life lessons always come from your peers. Look around the NFL this year and there are a lot of examples, good and bad, for Freeman to observe. After all, aren't the cheapest lessons always the ones that someone else pays for?

From Jay Cutler, for instance, Freeman could have the lasting lesson of how not to turn into a whining twit.

In the end, it doesn't really matter what anyone thinks of Cutler's ability or his coach trying to trade him in for a newer model. What matters is how Cutler managed to handle his situation in the worst way imaginable. Cutler transformed into a petulant child trying to hold his breath until he turned into a Bear, and because of it, his reputation might never be the same.

In football, learning what not to do is a valuable lesson. At this point, none of us knows how close Freeman is to a Bucs contract — relax, it will get done — but there are classy ways to disagree. Cutler, of course, managed to avoid them all. Not returning messages from the team owner? Not a good path to follow.

From Steve McNair, sadly, there is the grim lesson of the dangers of playing outside the lines.

Look, it isn't hard for an NFL quarterback to get a date. But when it comes to wives, remember, the standard issue is still one per customer.

No, McNair was hardly the first athlete to have a mistress. Dallas once had its White House, and Minnesota once had its Love Boat, where married players took their girlfriends. But be aware how many professional athletes have gotten into trouble over the years with extramarital affairs.

As long as they call it "cheating," perhaps an athlete should avoid it. Right?

From Brett Favre, there is the lesson of staying too long at the fair.

Time was, Favre was the most admirable of NFL quarterbacks. He was tough, and he was daring, and he could suck the breath out of the grandstands. But this constant waffling and the endless games of should he stay or should he go have become tiring.

Frankly, the NFL is still a more interesting place with Favre than without him. But these days, Favre is just a wandering headache looking for a place to land. He's too loud to care about.

Retirements should come one at a time, too.

From Bernie Kosar, there is the lesson of a man taking care of his money.

Remember when Kosar was a smart guy? That's before he gave most of his money away. Kosar is bankrupt now, and he recently told the Miami Herald that he had no idea how to wash a dish or iron a shirt.

Football won't last forever. A smart player makes sure the fortune he will make from playing the game will.

From Michael Vick, there are lessons about responsibility … and basic compassion.

The guy murdered dogs. Wouldn't it have been more fun to go to a movie? A concert? A baseball game? At what point did that sound like a good idea?

From Tony Romo, there is the lesson of handling celebrity … and celebrity girlfriends.

Nothing against Jessica Simpson, but when she and Romo broke up recently, you almost wanted to congratulate Romo. After all, the last thing a quarterback needs is to face more cameras and more suggestions on why he can't win a playoff game.

Of course, if Romo winds up with one of the Kardashians, all bets are off.

From Matt Cassel, there is this lesson: If people are going to criticize you, it is best they criticize you for your big stinking contract.

Let's see: A career backup finally gets a chance to play, and he gets the best coach and the best receivers in the league. Because of that, the Chiefs gave him $63 million. If Cassel had made more than 15 starts, who knows what he would have been paid?

That's the thing. The better a quarterback plays, the less anyone is going to talk about his paycheck. Does anyone gripe about Tom Brady's pay? Or Eli Manning's? Or Drew Brees'? Of course not, because success is always a bargain.

From Jason Campbell, there is a lesson in handling the swirling rumors around him.

Say what you want about Campbell. He still has some proving to do. But this offseason, there were rumors the Redskins were going to trade up to draft Mark Sanchez, and there were rumors they were going to trade for Cutler.

Campbell didn't gripe, and he didn't whine. He kept working. And here's hoping he has a good season.

From Ryan Leaf, there is the lesson that there are worse things than bad football.

You remember Leaf, the most memorable bust in two decades. He was arrogant, he was annoying and he was ineffective. And now he's about to go on trial in Texas on burglary and controlled substance charges.

To sum up: Don't be Ryan Leaf.

Of course, there are positive lessons out there to learn, too. Peyton Manning can teach you a lot about preparation. Brady can teach you a lot about competitiveness. Ben Roethlisberger can show you that winning is more important than statistics. Donovan McNabb can tell you about perseverance.

All things considered, those things are better than Jessica's phone number.

Pay attention, Josh. You will be tested.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman can learn from headlines 07/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 9:51am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  2. Four key games that could decide Bucs' success in 2017

    Blogs

    The Bucs finished so close to making the playoffs in 2016 -- literally flip-flop the last two results and have them beat the Saints and lose to the Panthers and they're in as a wild card with the same 9-7 record -- that it's difficult to say with any certainty what will happen in the 2017 season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, shown celebrating a touchdown against the Giants in 2015, will face New York again this fall in Week 4 in Tampa.
  3. Frank Deford wrote with sincerity, giving depth to complicated sports figures

    Human Interest

    Frank Deford practically invented the notion of multimedia: He exported his voice to radio, TV and film, and if you didn't know him you might have thought he was an actor, because he wore purple suits and looked like Clark Gable. But Frank, who died Sunday at age 78, was a writer above all things, and an important …

    In a 1991 photo, Frank Deford holds a proof of The National Sports Daily, of which he was editor and publisher [Associated Press]
  4. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire

    Blogs

    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.
  5. Jose De Leon sent back to minors after helping Rays win

    Blogs

    RHP Jose De Leon worked 2 2/3 innings to get the win in his Rays debut Monday and then was optioned back to Triple-A Durham.

    De Leon was brought up to provide length and depth in the bullpen after the Rays played 15 innings on Sunday, and he did that, allowing three runs on four hits while throwing 69 …