Freeman dismisses rumors after tough day
The Tampa Tribune, published 16 September 2013

His afternoon started with a national rumor that he was dissatisfied with being a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Then Josh Freeman’s day got a little more challenging.

Tampa Bay’s beleaguered 25-year-old quarterback struggled for the second consecutive week in Sunday’s 16-14 loss to New Orleans in the home opener. A week after completing only 15 of 31 passes against the Jets, Freeman hit on nine of 22 Sunday for a mere 125 yards. He threw one interception and lost one fumble while registering a paltry passer rating of 56.1.

“I have a blast with these guys, but our level of production has to improve,’’ Freeman said after the Bucs gained less than 275 total yards for the second time in two games.

In the morning, a CBS Sports online report suggested Freeman intends to ask the Buccaneers for a trade before the Oct. 29 deadline. Freeman, a first-round draft pick in 2009, is in the final season of his rookie contract and was not re-elected as an offensive captain in voting by his teammates before the season opener at MetLife Stadium.

After Sunday’s loss to the Saints, Freeman said he was unaware of the CBS Sports report, which also speculated about an ongoing power struggle between head coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik.

“At this point, on Sunday I shut my phone off and focus on the game plan,’’ Freeman said. “I didn’t know, so it didn’t affect me. The first I heard of it was 10 seconds ago, before I walked in here. Without a doubt, I’m a Buccaneer and I continue to prepare and try to go out every week and give my team a chance to win.’’

In Freeman’s last five games, dating to December, he has thrown four touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.