by Fitzgerald Cecilio
After failing to find a taker, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that they have released quarterback Josh Freeman.
According to sources, Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik contacted all 31 other teams in an attempt to trade Freeman but failed to draw interest.
"We made the decision today to release Josh Freeman. We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers," Dominik said in a statement.
The team expects that Freeman will claim his right to his full remaining salary of $6.2 million and be free to sign with any other team in the league.
Sources added that Tampa Bay's initial plan was to retain Freeman until closer to the trade deadline as insurance in case another team suffered an injury at quarterback and he became marketable.
However, the organization decided to separate from Freeman because too much damage was being inflicted on coach Greg Schiano and the situation with one player was undermining the focus of the entire team.
Freeman was in the final year of his rookie contract. The Buccaneers entered the season fully willing to pay Freeman as a franchise quarterback as long as he demonstrated he was worthy with his performance on the field.
Taken 17th overall by the Buccaneers in the 2009 draft, Freeman was benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon prior to Tampa Bay's 13-10 loss to Arizona on Sunday.
In 60 career games, Freeman has thrown for 13,534 yards, 80 touchdowns and 66 interceptions. He is the franchise's leader in career TD passes.
Last season, Freeman threw for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns. He had two touchdown passes and three interceptions this season before he was benched.
NFLPA to look into leak of Josh Freeman's drug-related record
New York, NY
The NFL Players Association will investigate how Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman's record in the league's substance-abuse program became public.
Freeman earlier admitted that he has prescription for Adderal to treat ADHD but he inadvertently took Ritalin last year and it triggered a positive test.
As a result, Freeman submitted to frequent drug screening, leading to his placement in Stage 1 of the league's drug program.
"We are sufficiently concerned about what we've heard to begin an investigation,'' NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said.
Smith said his main concern was about the rights of all NFL players, saying they have a collective bargaining agreement that mandates and protects confidentiality and privacy.
"If we believe that any member of team management or anyone from the league has deliberately taken steps to thwart that privacy and to breach that confidentiality, this union will take every step and file every grievance and pursue any law to rectify that," he said.
"This issue is a bigger issue about what's right with respect to the relationship between players and management. When those issues come to bear, this is a union that will stand up for its players," Smith added.
Earlier, Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano denied that he was the source of the information . "I know what I've done. I'm 100 percent comfortable with my behavior, 100 percent," Schiano said.
The league, through its spokesman Greg Aiello, did not comment specifically on Freeman's situation but said "confidentiality provision of our drug program is critically important and a breach of that confidentiality by any party is a serious violation of our collectively bargained policy.''