In a statement to FOX Sports on Monday night, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman addressed reports he’s in the NFL’s substance-abuse program by saying he has a temporary use exemption to take Adderall for ADHD and entered the program voluntarily.
Freeman’s statement was issued in response to a report from ESPN stating he’s in the first stage of the league’s drug program. Though he’s currently a few steps away from a potential suspension, Freeman felt the need to address the reports and clarify his situation, surely to help his cause in finding a new team, either by trade or through free agency if he’s soon released.
"Let me be very clear. I have NEVER tested positive for any illegal drugs or related substances," Freeman wrote. "Further, I have agreed to take, and have PASSED 46 NFL-regulated drug tests over the last year-and-a-half."
Freeman says he entered the substance-abuse program more than 1-1/2 years ago, when he took Ritalin rather than his prescribed Adderall. Freeman said he offered to enter the program and be subject to repeat testing to show he made a "one-time mistake."
An independent source with knowledge of Freeman’s situation confirmed to FOX Sports Freeman’s account of how he entered the program and that he has passed all tests.
The source also said current head coach Greg Schiano was suspicious as to why Freeman was being tested regularly at the start of Schiano’s time with the Buccaneers. The source said Freeman didn’t initially divulge the full details of his situation to Schiano but assured him it wasn’t related to a positive test.
"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’s situation with the Buccaneers has been tenuous for weeks, ever since reports surfaced he missed a team photo. Since then, there have been reports he missed multiple team meetings.
Freeman lost his job to rookie Mike Glennon and was inactive Sunday for a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The team asked him to watch the game from a suite, and Freeman, wary of a possible suspension for conduct detrimental to the team if he didn’t agree, obliged.
Freeman told FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer on Sunday he would like to be released if the Bucs can’t find a trade partner. So far, he remains a member of the organization, and Schiano said Monday that Freeman will be asked to fulfill all requirements asked of any active player.
"I remain dedicated and focused to being the best quarterback I can be," Freeman said, "and to help a team win a championship."