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Bucs coach Greg Schiano: 'Josh Freeman is our quarterback'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Following an up-and-down season for Josh Freeman in 2012, Buccaneers first-year coach Greg Schiano didn't exactly give the quarterback a ringing endorsement, saying he planned to evaluate every position on the team.

On Thursday at the 2013 NFL combine, Schiano backtracked -- or maybe apologized is the right word? -- on those comments and gave Freeman a ringing endorsement.

"At the end of the season, I probably said something that got a lot more attention than I meant it to do," Schiano said. "At that point, every year I've been a head coach, I step back and evaluate every phase of our program. As a staff, we went through every single player in a series of evaluations. So I made the statement 'I want competition at every position.'

"Josh Freeman is our quarterback. And I believe with Josh Freeman, we'll be able to accomplish our goals."

What makes Freeman's status interesting going forward is how his contract sets up. He's another quarterback who becomes a free agent after the 2013 season, and the Bucs reportedly aren't interested in negotiating with him.

Freeman has been successful in the NFL -- 2010 was an outstanding season for him, but he regressed and, while he bounced back in 2012, he was inconsistent for much of the year. It wouldn't be stunning at all if Schiano considered at some point bringing in a young quarterback or considering going in another direction, particularly if Freeman's going to command a big salary after 2013.

But the Bucs are locked into having Freeman as his quarterback for at least one more year, which is why Schiano is trying to calm down the perception that he'd think about going in any other direction.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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