The National Football League Players Association and the league will search for the source of leaks that led to the public learning about Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman's inclusion in the NFL's substance-abuse program.
"I think we are sufficiently concerned about what we've heard to begin an investigation," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Tuesday in Tampa, Fla. "I believe that the league has the same interests that we have in trying to determine what happened. I look forward to working with (commissioner) Roger (Goodell) and people from the league in order to conduct that investigation. But on behalf of our players, it's also important for all of our players and fans to know that our system works if people abide by the rules.
"If we have a concern that the rules have been intentionally broken, no one is going to be exempt from the consequences."
The leak is another incident in what is a volatile situation between Freeman and the Buccaneers. Freeman was benched in favor of Mike Glennon last week and then not allowed to watch the game from the sideline. According to FoxSports.com, Freeman was asked to stay away from a team meeting Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Bucs coach Greg Schiano said he was not the source of the confidential medical information that was leaked about Freeman, his former starting quarterback.
"Absolutely not," Schiano said.
"I know what I've done, and I'm 100 percent comfortable with my behavior," Schiano said at a press conference.
Several times Tuesday, Schiano declined to answer questions about the report or Freeman's status in the drug program.
"I'm not at liberty to comment on that," Schiano said.
Freeman responded Monday to what he said were team leaks about his participation in Stage One of the NFL substance abuse program.
He said he takes prescription Adderall to treat ADHD and accidentally took unprescribed Ritalin, causing a positive test for a banned substance. He claims he voluntarily enrolled in the random testing program to prove he is clean.
"I agreed to allow such testing to be done at my workplace (team facility) because I spend all of my time there and I have nothing whatsoever to hide or be embarrassed about," Freeman said in his statement. "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. It is a shame that when times have gotten tough, people have chosen to attack the character of others, rather than supporting each other."
Freeman said he took every test at the Buccaneers' team facility and insinuates someone who observed his drug tests on site leaked the information to tarnish his reputation.
"Let me be very clear. I have NEVER tested positive for any illegal drugs or related substances," Freeman wrote in a statement released Monday. "Further, I have agreed to take, and have PASSED 46 NFL-regulated drug tests over the last year-and-a-half."
Freeman is on the trading block but his value diminished since the start of the season. In the final year of his contract, Freeman and his agent said they "might be willing" to restructure his deal if a trade can be worked out to get him out of Tampa Bay. Freeman is owed more than $6 million for the remainder of the 2013 season.
- Sports & Recreation
- Josh Freeman
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers