The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released quarterback Josh Freeman, the team has confirmed.
“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,” said general manager Mark Dominik in a statement from the team.
Dominik had worked furiously over the last few days to try to trade Freeman, but instead the team will be forced to pay his $6.2 million salary.
Freeman’s release comes eight days after it was announced that he had been demoted as starting quarterback. Last Thursday he gave an unauthorized interview with ESPN, stating he felt a trade would be the best option.
Then earlier this week, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen issued a report stating that Freeman was a stage one participant in the NFL substance abuse program. Freeman denied he had ever tested positive for illegal drugs, stating he has ADHD and is prescribed Adderall, and voluntarily entered the program because he took Ritalin once.
Freeman’s camp has maintained that they believe someone within the organization leaked Freeman’s private info, in which he was subjected to routine testing at the team facility.
“Unfortunately, it appears that some people who may have noticed the testing at my workplace have made hurtful and incorrect assumptions and chosen to disseminate inaccurate and very disturbing information,” said Freeman in a statement.
When asked by reporters Tuesday about being the source of the leak of Freeman’s confidential information, Schiano responded, “Absolutely not.”
“I know what I’ve done, and I’m 100 percent comfortable with my behavior. One hundred percent.”
Freeman is now an unrestricted free agent. He finishes his career with the Bucs 24-35 and leaves as the franchise leader in career touchdowns (80), single-season touchdowns (27) and single-season passing yards (4,065).