Is the tenure as starting quarterback for the Buccaneers coming to an end for Josh Freeman? Things are starting to point in that direction. Freeman missed the Bucs annual team photo last week and this wasn't the first time Freeman dropped the ball on a commitment.
You hear of players in sports wasting golden opportunities and throwing away potential millions of dollars on a regular basis. All you can do is shake you head, wonder why and say, what a shame.
Former Bucs safety Tanard Jackson was a perfect example. Jackson literally smoked away millions of dollars over the last few years because he couldn’t put the weed down.
And now another Buccaneer, quarterback Josh Freeman, appears to be heading down the same path. Not with drugs, but instead with an aloof attitude and a lack of consideration to ownership, coaches his teammates and just as importantly, Bucs fans.
PewterReport.com can confirm that Freeman missed the annual team photo prior to the team vote on captains last week. How does that happen?
Think that didn’t affect his teammates vote?
But this isn’t the first time Freeman let people down. How about over 100 kids last June who’s parents plunked down $149 for their children to participate in Freeman’s annual football camp? Freeman showed up at the very end of the first session claiming he had car problems. A multi-millionaire and he only has one car? No friends to give him a ride? Not enough cash to, at the very least, call a cab?
My son noticed.
The other kids and parents noticed.
The Buccaneers organization noticed.
His head coach noticed.
And as a result, barring some type of reconciliation, Freeman is set to start the last of his 15 games of his Buccaneers career Sunday.
If he even gets those 15 games.
For those who have said head coach Greg Schiano was being too hard on Freeman and wasn’t married to his quarterback – put yourself in his place. Schiano is a 24-hour-a-day obsessed football guy. It appears as if Freeman isn’t. But certain things can be overlooked.
Players and coaches do not have to love each other. They didn’t even have to like each other. But they do need to have the same focus, agenda and willingness to work for the common goal of winning a Super Bowl.
Freeman, by his actions, doesn’t.
Is it the end of the world that Freeman was late to his own youth camp? No.
Is it the end of the world Freeman, for whatever reason, didn’t make it to his team photo? No.
But if you are the Buccaneers are you committing millions of dollars annually to a guy who doesn’t have the decency to show up for these types of commitments?
The Glazer family, general manager Mark Dominik and Schiano most likely aren’t either.
It is truly a shame. Freeman has the personality and talent to win over fans across the Tampa Bay area and beyond. But his lack of consideration – and recent play on the field – more than likely have sealed his fate as a lame-duck quarterback in Tampa Bay. Keep in mind this is Freeman's contract year and he has millions of dollars at stake.
Maybe Freeman is dealing with some personal demons. Maybe Freeman is burned out on the game of football. Maybe he can’t stand to be in the same room with Schiano.
And maybe, somehow Freeman rescues the season, takes the team on his back and carries them to the postseason.
And maybe I win a Pulitzer.
Freeman is a good guy. I have spent enough time around him on and off the field to know this. Or at least I want to believe it. Maybe there are valid reasons.
Maybe I am barking up the wrong tree. No one wants to be more wrong about this story than I. But more than one person locally and nationally says something just isn't right about the current state of the franchise. Scott Reynolds reported something wasn't right with Schiano and his relationship with the players on Monday on PewterReport.com following the 18-17 loss in New York. It is beginning to become clearer to myself things aren't right over at One Buccaneer Place.
Make no mistake, something that some may see as inconsequential as missing an appointment of this importance, does affect the chemistry of a team. How can you expect to earn the respect and assume a leadership role and not show up for the team photo – with emphasis on team?
Somehow the other 52 guys were able to clear their schedule and show up for the photo.
Players on Thursday when asked about it will say it is not really a big deal. Schiano will put on his positive face and continue to deflect the criticism of Freeman by saying it isn't a big deal. And maybe it isn’t.
But it seems like it matters.
It matters to his organization.
It matters to his coaches.
In a contract year, with a franchise hanging their hopes on No. 5, it should matter to Freeman.
But his actions, not once, but twice, can only lead the fans and his head coach to believe it doesn’t matter to Freeman.
You're a likable, talented guy with a rocket arm. Prove me wrong, Josh. Prove your detractors wrong.
And if you don't? Then that’s a shame.
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.