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Josh Freeman: 'I have never tested positive for any illegal drugs'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

It's been a strange few weeks for 2009 first-round pick Josh Freeman. (USATSI)

Responding to a report that he was in the NFL's drug program, Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman issued a statement to CBSSports.com Monday night.

"Let me be very clear. I have NEVER tested positive for any illegal drugs or related substances. Further, I have agreed to take, and have PASSED 46 NFL-regulated drug tests over the last year and a half.

"Since the confidentiality of my medical status has been publicly violated, I am choosing to address this matter so that grossly erroneous assumptions about me do not persist. Like millions of Americans, I have ADHD and I have been prescribed and permitted to take medication to treat this condition for the entirety of my NFL career. Well over a year ago, I took a different medication for the same condition (Ritalin rather than Adderall) , and to assure everyone that the error was a one-time mistake, I agreed to be voluntarily tested in the 'NFL Program.'

"Since that time, I have taken and passed all 46 drug tests I've been given, which test for every drug and banned substance imaginable. 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.

"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. I remain dedicated and focused to being the best quarterback I can be and to help a team win a championship."

Freeman's statement was prompted by an ESPN report that said the Bucs quarterback was a stage one participant in the NFL's drug program, although he wasn't one strike away from suspension despite being subject to random testing.

"Freeman has obtained a temporary use exemption for a prescription drug that normally would be on the banned list," Mortensen wrote. … "Freeman has not had any incidents that have placed him in jeopardy of suspension, such as a positive test of a banned street-drug substance, sources said. Thus, Freeman is in relatively good standing under the program."

This news comes a day after the Buccaneers made Freeman inactive for their game against the Cardinals. Instead of watching from the sidelines with his teammates, Freeman's agent claims the quarterback was forced to sit in a suite at Raymond James Stadium.

Earlier in the week, Freeman was benched for rookie third-round pick Mike Glennon, which prompted Freeman to say publicly that he wants to be traded.

"Obviously the head coach has come out and said that this isn't the place for me to be a starting quarterback," Freeman said Thursday. "He doesn't think that I give this team the best chance to win. I don't agree, but at the same time I'm the player and he's the coach. Whatever happens next, I'm moving on. I'm going to be excited to go out and make the most of any situation. … "[The] bottom line is, if you want things to change, something has got to change," Freeman continued. "At the end of the day, yes. I think that moving forward [a trade] might be, that is going to be probably the best option.”

Freeman reportedly missed at least one team meeting last week, and the quarterback admitted to oversleeping for the team photo earlier this month.

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