There's no love lost between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Josh Freeman. The organization released the quarterback on Thursday, and slapped him with a $31,500 fine on his way out the door. But while head coach Greg Schiano seems intent to paint Freeman as something of a problem child, a former Bucs assistant and current Green Bay Packers assistant had nothing but good things to say about the now-free agent when speaking with ESPN.
Alex Van Pelt, now the Packers' running backs coach, worked with Freeman as the Bucs' quarterbacks coach from 2010-2011. Freeman stands accused of committing conduct detrimental to the team, including missing a team meeting, but Van Pelt said that he never had any problems.
"I loved Josh," Van Pelt said Thursday. "Josh and I had a good working relationship. He was nothing but a pro when I was there with him. He was never late for meetings. We actually had 6:30 (a.m.) quarterback meetings; we were an hour before anybody else, and I never had an issue or anything like that. He did everything that I asked him to do.
"He was a great teammate, watched him work around the other guys and had a lot of respect for him. I don't know what happened, but I know the guy that I was there with I really enjoyed being with."
The Packers aren't likely to take a stab at Freeman on the free agency market, assuming Freeman would rather go to an organization where he can compete for a starting job. Still, Van Pelt's comments add more fuel to the theory that Schiano is losing his grip on the team. A reports by Sports Illustrated indicated that players mistrust him as a coach, and some have suggested that Schiano was behind a leaked report revealing that Freeman had entered the NFL's drug program.