Josh Freeman release: Packers assistant raves about QB from days together with Buccaneers

Al Messerschmidt

Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers never seemed to see eye-to-eye this season, though one former Bucs assistant, now with the Packers, says he never had any trouble working with the quarterback.

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.

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