"No, not at all," Freeman said after the game. "The first I heard of it was literally 10 seconds ago, or right before I walked in here. Without a doubt I am a Buccaneer and am continuing to prepare and try and go out every week and give my team a chance to win the game."
Could the trade-demand speculation have originated from someone close to the quarterback?
"If it is going on, I need a new camp then because there is nothing I've heard," Freeman said.
On the field, Freeman and the Bucs' offense continued to struggle in a 16-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The quarterback finished 9-of-22 passing for 118 yards and one touchdown with one interception. He had a 75-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson wiped away because of an illegal formation penalty on right tackle Demar Dotson.
Asked if Freeman would be the Bucs' quarterback in Week 3, coach Schiano hesitated before responding, "I see no reason why he shouldn't be."
"I'm going to have to look at the tape to see what's going on," Schiano said. "It's just not the quarterback. It's squarely on me. I'm the head football coach, and when we're not doing things offensively that we're capable of doing -- mostly in the pass game. ... We have to look at what we're doing coaching-wise, what we're doing execution-wise, and, again, it falls on me. It doesn't fall on anybody else."
The Bucs desperately needed this win, if for nothing else than to quiet discussion over the internal discord involving the coach and quarterback. This is the type of subplot that can submarine a season in quick fashion.