If the Buccaneers starting the 2013 season with four straight losses wasn't bad enough, there are now rumors that the organization deliberately leaked confidential information about recently benched quarterback Josh Freeman's inclusion in an NFL drug program.
In a statement, Freeman explained that he has never tested positive for any illegal drugs. He does, however, take medication for ADHD, over a year ago accidentally took Ritalin instead of Adderall, and voluntarily agreed to unannounced and repeated testing, which is how he ended up in stage one of the league's drug program.
How this information found its way to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, who reported it Monday night, was put to Schiano at his Tuesday press conference.
When asked if he leaked Freeman's drug program information, Schiano said "Absolutely not."
Now the NFL Players Association plans to get involved.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was already scheduled to be in Tampa Tuesday, and he informed Freeman that he is looking into the release of his drug status, sources told CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.
After Schiano benched an underperforming Freeman, the Buccaneers then made Freeman inactive for Sunday's game against the Cardinals. But 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.
There's more: FOX Sports' Jay Glazer reported that Freeman was asked on Tuesday to not attend a team meeting.
This request came days after Freeman said 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.”
The feeling is mutual because the Bucs have reportedly called a dozen teams about Freeman and plan to call the other 19.
Schiano arrived in Tampa Bay as a no-nonsense disciplinarian who was exactly the right man to whip the good-time Buccaneers into shape. That lasted 11 weeks into the 2012 season. After a promising 6-4 start, the Bucs dropped five straight and finished 7-9.
It would be one thing if the Bucs were playing well -- winning fixes a lot -- but they're one of the worst teams in the league, and that doesn't look to change any time soon. (In their last 10 games, the team is 1-9.) Which is why Schiano and his tough-love approach to coaching may not be long for Tampa Bay.
Buccaneers announce two moves, but one isn't the release of Greg Schiano. It's coming.— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) October 1, 2013