Lost in the news from Wednesday night that the Buccaneers fined quarterback Josh Freeman multiple times last week is that someone has once again leaked previously unknown information about the Tampa quarterback.
The development hasn’t gone unnoticed by his agent, Erik Burkhardt.
“AND… Another breach of personal & confidential employee information: releasing info of alleged team violations w associated fines,” Burkhardt said via Twitter earlier in the hour.
The news of Freeman’s fines first came from Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated, who mentioned only a pair of fines. Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune later identified three fines in all from last week, each for the maximum of $10,410. One fine came from giving an unauthorized interview to ESPN, and two were for missed meetings.
Per Cummings, Freeman also missed the team meal before the regular-season opener, and he was late for the team bus.
Unless Freeman’s camp is leaking the information to create the impression the Bucs are leaking it, then the Bucs are leaking it. Cummings has too many details for the information to have come from anyone else.
Thus, the strategy for both sides continues to be agitation that stops short of crossing the line, in the hopes that the other side eventually will cross the line.
Look for the Bucs eventually to suspend Freeman without pay for conduct detrimental to the team, possibly saving $490,000 per week for up to four weeks. It’s possible that the tweet from Burkhardt, accusing the organization publicly for the second time in three days of violating Freeman’s privacy rights, will be the straw that severs coach Greg Schiano’s back.
UPDATE 2:18 p.m. ET: Wisely, the Bucs have decided instead to cut Freeman. It’s unclear whether they’ll try to stiff Freeman out of his termination pay. Per the labor deal, any effort to block termination pay must be preceded by a written warning to that effect. It’s unknown whether the warning was sent.