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Ex-Bucs QB Josh Freeman working to return to NFL

The last time the Packers played at Raymond James Stadium, Josh Freeman made his first NFL start at quarterback and won 38-28, becoming the third rookie in Bucs history to win his first start. [Times files (2009)]
The last time the Packers played at Raymond James Stadium, Josh Freeman made his first NFL start at quarterback and won 38-28, becoming the third rookie in Bucs history to win his first start. [Times files (2009)]
Published Dec. 19, 2014

TAMPA — The last time the Packers played at Raymond James Stadium, on Nov. 8, 2009, Josh Freeman made his first NFL start at quarterback and won 38-28, becoming the third rookie in Bucs history to win his first start.

But since being released by the Giants on May 30 — his third team in a year — Freeman has flown under the NFL radar. In a league that employs quarterbacks such as the Bears' Jimmy Clausen and the Cardinals' Ryan Lindley, a guy who passed for 13,724 and 80 touchdowns in five seasons is a relative ghost.

WR Vincent Jackson said Freeman, 26, goes back and forth between Tampa and his family in Kansas City, Mo.

"He's still working in the football realm. He's keeping himself in shape, and he's really looking to hit it hard, from what I hear," Jackson said.

"I'm hoping he gets another opportunity this upcoming training camp, and I think somebody should give him a chance. He's a very talented kid, despite his past problems or issues or anything that went on here. Everybody deserves a second chance, a fresh slate."

Freeman went 10-6 in his first full season as a starter in 2010 under Raheem Morris. He even set club records for touchdown passes (27) and passing yards (4,065) in 2012.

But a clash with Greg Schiano, the coach who succeeded Morris after he was fired, and accusations that his voluntary participation in the league's substance abuse program was leaked devolved into Freeman being released.

" 'Free' had all the intangibles, all the makings to be a great player in this league," DT Gerald McCoy said. "Just some things were missing. I pray that he gets those going and comes back in the league and does what he's supposed to do.

"The NFL is a roller coaster. You never know what you're going to get. You might get a couple loops. It might stop. It might go backwards. Who knows what's going to happen."

INJURY UPDATES: S Dashon Goldson was limited in practice after tweaking his shin Wednesday, but coach Lovie Smith said he didn't think the injury was serious.

S Major Wright (ribs) returned to practice and was limited, but the team is planning on not having him again this week, with Bradley McDougald getting his fourth consecutive start.

"We're not going to have Major again this week, so that's tough," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said.

CB Isaiah Frey (ankle) was the only player who didn't practice.

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