After reports emerged regarding the Buccaneers’ pre-Week One players only meeting that addressed among other things the legitimacy of the vote for 2013 captains, reports emerged that quarterback Josh Freeman (who lost his “C” after three years wearing it) missed the official team photograph.
Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune appeared earlier this morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Ross Tucker and soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer Derrick Brooks to discuss the situation.
Kaufman addressed his belief that the relationship between the team and its starting quarterback is reaching “critical mass,” explaining that he doesn’t believe the statement amounts to hyperbole. The problem, per Kaufman, is a perceived lack of commitment to the team from Freeman.
“My information is that it’s not the first time Freeman has been late for or completely missed a team function,” Kaufman said.
With some prodding by Tucker, Kaufman acknowledged that a players-only meeting occurred last week. While Kaufman initially explained the meeting as an effort to address Freeman’s lack of commitment to the team, Kaufman eventually conceded that, as he hears it, the meeting was aimed at addressing concerns about both Freeman and the coaching staff.
Still, the concerns about Freeman are coming out only after reports surfaced of the players-only meeting that included concerns about the coaching staff. It’s impossible not to at least wonder whether the Bucs, who declined comment to PFT about the players-only meeting or its contents, have launched a P.R. assault on Freeman in order to take the focus away from potential player concerns about the coaching staff.
Either way, after an offseason of denials it’s becoming more and more clear that 2013 will be Freeman’s last year in Tampa, barring a dramatic and unexpected shift in mindsets and attitudes.
“If the Bucs had a viable option, Freeman might already be replaced,” Kaufman said.
So, basically, the Bucs will stick with Freeman while Mike Glennon engages in a Gale Boetticher-style crash course aimed at getting to the point where he can take over the operation.
By the way, Freeman is due to meet with the media on Thursday afternoon. Here’s hoping he says, “I am the one who knocks.”