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Bucs QB Freeman appears on injury report after Saints complain

A funny thing happened on the way to this weekend's Saints-Buccaneers showdown in New Orleans: Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman appeared on Thursday's injury report.

A player's appearance on an injury report normally doesn't constitute as controversial news -- especially for something as minor as Freeman's thumb injury -- but how Freeman's name ended up on the list after it was nowhere to be found Wednesday warrants further investigation.

According to an report, the Bucs got a call from the NFL "strongly suggesting" that Freeman be added to the report after the quarterback showed up on NFL Network's "Around the League" on Wednesday wearing a brace on his throwing hand.

And who made the call to the league? None other than the Saints, who just so happen to host the Bucs on Sunday.

"Ask the Saints, I guess they reported it, you can ask those guys," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said, via the St. Petersburg Times, when asked about Freeman's injury. "That's why we reported it, because the league asked us to. He sprained it in the Chicago game, came in and practiced during the bye week, and didn't miss anything this week. ... We had to report it and tell you guys ... because the league has to have something to talk about, so we're talking about it."

Saints coach Sean Payton later admitted he was the whistle blower.

"Listen, I think when your quarterback's on NFL Network with a splint on his thumb, normally he's on the injury report," Payton said, via the Times-Picayune. "At least take the splint off before you go on NFL Network, right?"

Freeman's injury is a non-issue for the Bucs -- he's shown no ill effects from it the past two weeks, according to the Times -- but a little gamesmanship from a divisional rival should only add another layer of intrigue to Sunday's game.

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