It took nearly 12 hours for quarterback Josh Freeman to learn about a report that surfaced Sunday morning saying he planned to seek a trade from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a report he denied in his post-game press conference following the Bucs’ 16-14 loss to the Saints.
“Actually, the first I’d heard of it was literally 10 seconds ago, right before I walked in here. But no, without a doubt, I’m a Buccaneer. I’m continuing to prepare, and try to go out every week to give my team a chance to win the game.”
Schiano appeared equally surprised when asked about the report. “It’s new to me. We’ve not had any conversations along those lines.”
Freeman said he has no knowledge of anyone in his camp requesting a trade on his behalf either.
“Not that I’ve heard. If it’s going on, then I need a new camp then, because it’s nothing I’ve heard.”
The 25-year-old former first-round pick, now in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, has always maintained that he insulates himself from media reports.
This week he caught wind of it, however, and had to answer a number of questions regarding a possible rift with head coach Greg Schiano. There were rumors swirling that Schiano possibly rigged the captains’ vote and then news surfaced that Freeman missed the team picture.
“The picture thing, it is what it is. I don’t know, it went from a picture thing, to a team meeting, to a whatever it was — it’s not where I’m focused. My focus is on the game plan, it’s on the preparation, it’s on finding a way to go out and win games.”
And that means going off-the-grid and tuning out the outside world.
“At this point, on game days. I just shut my phone off. I try not to focus on anything except for the game plan. Today, obviously that came out. You guys are all [over it]. I didn’t know so it really didn’t affect me in any way. It’s not my job to write or critique writing. My job is to focus on football.”