When Josh Freeman stated Monday that he has "taken and passed" 46 drug tests, he also hinted at a belief that sources inside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization leaked his stage one status in the NFL's substance-abuse program.
At Tuesday's news conference, coach Greg Schiano replied "absolutely not" when asked if he was the confidential source responsible for the report.
"I really don't want to get into what Josh's thoughts are about how things got out," Schiano added. "I know what I've done, and I'm 100 percent comfortable with my behavior. One-hundred percent."
Schiano further insisted that his relationship with Freeman is not uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith also commented on the situation.
"I think we are sufficiently concerned about what we've heard to begin an investigation," Smith said.
"I believe that the league has the same interests that we have in trying to determine what happened," Smith added, via the Tampa Bay Times. "I look forward to working with (NFL Commissioner) Roger (Goodell) and people from the league in order to conduct that investigation. But on behalf of our players, it's also important for all of our players and fans to know that our system works if people abide by the rules."
While the original report and Freeman's response gave rise to speculation that this was an attempt by the Buccaneers to win the public relations battle, it's hardly a safe assumption.
Other teams have performed extensive due diligence, which might have turned up Freeman's stage one status.
It hardly would be unprecedented for a league executive to allow that information to casually slip when queried by an NFL insider as to his team's interest in a potential Freeman trade.