According to Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, it was a mutual decision between himself and Josh Freeman for the benched quarterback to watch today’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals from a suite rather than the sideline.
Schiano made that clear in his post game press conference according to Sports Talk Florida’s Jenna Laine:
A "mutual decision"…that's what head coach Greg Schiano called it in his post-game press conference.
— JennaLaineBucs (@JennaLaineBucs) September 29, 2013
Schiano elaborated further saying it was what was best for the team today, as quoted by the Tampa Bay Times.
“We talked about it, and once we decided he was inactive, we felt it was the best scenario for today…With all the happenings of the week, it was the best thing for our team. There’s stuff I’m not going to get into. But that was the best thing for our football team today.”
However, according to Freeman’s agent Erik Burkhardt, that is not accurate as the Tampa Bay Time’s Rick Stroud reports:
The agent for Josh Freeman said Greg Schiano's claim that it was a 'mutual decision,' the QB watch from a suite Sun was a 'Lie. Obviously.'
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) September 29, 2013
It was reported as early as Friday that Freeman would likely be the third string quarterback for Sunday’s game and that he would be inactive. However, for Schiano to make Freeman watch the game from the stands is uncommon.
Players who aren’t active on game days tend to watch the game from the sidelines as they are still part of the team. Clearly though, Schiano doesn’t feel that Freeman is part of the team anymore.
It’s a bold move by Schiano and one that is likely to be met with scrutiny. It paints the franchise in a bad light for not allowing Freeman to be a part of the team when he is still under contract. What makes matters worse is that this is only a benching; it’s not as if Freeman has been arrested where you could warrant making him watch from the stands.
Whether he just didn’t want Freeman around Mike Glennon during the game, or if it’s something even deeper than that remains to be seen, but it’s becoming more clearer each day that Schiano has no interest in Freeman remaining part of the franchise, while his continual mistreatment of him is becoming more personal each day.