NFL news roundup: Josh Freeman no longer a Buc, Austin Collie signs with Patriots

Streeter Lecka

The big story Thursday was Josh Freeman's release from the Buccaneers. Here's what you may have missed while you were reading up on the drama in Tampa Bay, including more on Austin Collie's signing with the Patriots.

Thursday's NFL news cycle has been dominated by the ongoing drama with Josh Freeman, Greg Schiano and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You can check out SB Nation's full storystream to get caught up. Long story short, Josh Freeman is no longer with the Bucs after being benched last week in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. Freeman was also fined $31,500 by the team, reportedly for conduct detrimental to the team, missing a team meeting and conducting an unauthorized interview with ESPN.

The release and fine comes days after reports surfaced that Freeman is in Stage One of the NFL's Drug Program due to a mix-up of ADHD medication. Freeman's participation in the program was supposed to be classified, but someone leaked the information to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, and some have suggested that the culprit could be Schiano. If that's the case, the second-year head coach may soon find himself out of a job, not that there aren't other good reasons to let him go.

The situation could get messier before all has been said. Be sure to stay posted to the storystream for more. Meanwhile, there was plenty non-Freeman news Thursday, as well:

Patriots sign WR Austin Collie

The Patriots added some depth to an ailing wide receiver corps by signing former Indianapolis Colts wideout Austin Collie. On the surface, pairing Collie with Tom Brady seems like a great idea. Collie had tremendous success catching passes from Peyton Manning once upon a time. However, the wideout's career has been derailed lately due to concussions. Collie has missed 22 games over the last three seasons.

Collie played briefly for the San Francisco 49ers this offseason before being released just before the start of the regular season. Few should expect Collie to immediately become a prominent receiving target, but while the Patriots wait for Danny Amendola to get healthy, having Collie around should be a help.

Cardinals DT Dan Williams to play Sunday after losing father

Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams will return to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers after sitting the last two weeks to mourn the death of his father. Thomas Williams died in a car accident while driving from Memphis to New Orleans to see his son play against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3. His SUV hit a guardrail and veered off a bridge in Grenada, Miss. Williams' mother and sister were also in the vehicle but survived, though both are currently sporting back braces.

Ernie Sims takes over Cowboys' starting WLB role

The Dallas Cowboys have made a switch at weakside linebacker, sliding Ernie Sims in front of Bruce Carter during practice. Carter struggled during the Cowboys' loss to the San Diego Chargers last Sunday, and appeared to get benched in the second half after allowing a pair of touchdowns. Sims is a former first-round pick who has bounced around the league since beginning his career in 2006.

RB injuries: Updates Spiller, Bradshaw and McFadden

Being a running back in the NFL is a difficult gig. The position places tremendous stress on the body, and is gradually becoming less and less important to teams within pass-happy offenses. This weekend, some of the biggest names may be on the sidelines.

C.J. Spiller is reportedly a "true game-time decision" for Thursday's bout against the Cleveland Browns due to an ankle injury. That's a better prognosis than Ahmad Bradshaw's, who could miss the rest of the 2013 season if he is forced to undergo neck surgery. Darren McFadden, meanwhile, missed practice again Thursday with a hamstring injury that was proclaimed to be not very serious early in the week.

More from SB Nation NFL:

Bucs officially dump Josh Freeman

Week 5 picks: Rise of the underdogs | Watchability Index

In which the Eagles get drunk and give up 2,400 rushing yards | Breaking Madden

The Notebook: What makes Russell Wilson so good

Eugene Monroe traded to Ravens | Steelers get Levi Brown

NFL power rankings: Saints go marchin’

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