Josh Freeman’s stint as the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been far from a fairytale. There have been a number of setbacks, ranging from erratic play to the young passer not showing up when needed most.
Despite these shortcomings, the Buccaneers have no intentions of giving up on Freeman, who is heading a contract year in 2013.
“It was really positive,” Freeman’s rep Erik Burkhardt told The Tampa Tribune following a recent meeting with the Buccaneers brass. “They said they definitely believe in Josh, that he is their guy, that they want to reach their goals with him and that they know he is capable of doing the job and are committed to him.”
Although some would think this topic was never an issue to begin with, there was some concern surrounding Freeman’s future with the team at the end of the 2012 season. After capping off his 2012 campaign with back-to-back four-interception games, Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano stirred the pot in January when he stated that he was unsure if Freeman would be back with the team after 2013.
Schiano, however, cleared the situation up at the 2013 NFL Combine.
“So, just so you know, Josh Freeman is our quarterback and I believe that with Josh Freeman we’ll be able to accomplish our goals,” Schiano said. “That’s my belief and our organization’s belief.”
Positive talks aside, it’s still unclear at this point whether or not the sides have talked a new contract. Freeman is headed into the final year of his rookie deal and will be expected to take significant strides as the Buccaneers attempt to get back to the playoffs. With Doug Martin in the mix and several top targets like Vincent Jackson to throw to, there’s no reason that Freeman shouldn’t find considerable success during the 2013 season.
The NFL has been a roller coaster ride for Freeman, who the Buccaneers took with the No. 17 overall pick back in 2009. Regardless of the ebbs and flows, Freeman has the physical tools and mental toughness to assert himself as a Top 10 quarterback.
Until he breaks that barrier, though, there will always be a sliver of doubt.