Quarterback Josh Freeman was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, a week after being benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon.
The winless Bucs made the latest move during their bye week after General Manager Mark Dominik contacted every other team in the NFL in an unsuccessful attempt to trade Freeman, a 4,000-yard passer a year ago and the team’s career leader with 1,144 completions and 80 touchdowns.
Coach Greg Schiano benched Freeman after the 25-year-old completed just 45.7 percent of his passes and posted a league-low quarterback rating of 59.3 through three games, all losses. Glennon made his first pro start Sunday, turning the ball over three times during the fourth quarter of a 13-10 loss to Arizona.
Freeman is owed the remaining $6.25 million on the contract he signed as the third quarterback selected in the 2009 draft behind Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.
“We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers,” Dominik said a brief 33-word statement.
Freeman threw for 4,065 yards, 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2012, but his inconsistent play down the stretch contributed to the team losing five out of six games and failing to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. He led the Bucs to a 10-6 record while throwing for 25 TDs and just six interceptions in his first full season as a starter in 2010.
The release caps a tumultuous month in which Freeman overslept before missing a team photo shoot, was not voted a captain for time since his rookie year, and reportedly missed at least one other team meeting.
This week, the saga took a messy turn when Freeman released a statement through his agent, saying he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and entered the NFL substance-abuse program more than a year ago after mistakenly taking Ridilin instead of Adderall to treat the condition.
Patriots put Wilfolk on IR
The New England Patriots placed defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on injured reserve, signed wide receiver Austin Collie and released rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld. Wilfork tore his right Achilles’ tendon in the first quarter of Sunday night’s 30-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons. The five-time Pro Bowl player has missed just six games in his 10-year career.
Collie spent his four pro seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, but played in just one game last year because of a knee injury. He signed with San Francisco as a free agent Aug. 2 and was released Aug. 31. In 42 games, he has 173 catches for 1,845 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Jaguars’ stars are safe
The Jacksonville Jaguars are not going to trade running back Maurice Jones-Drew or linebacker Paul Posluszny.
General Manager Dave Caldwell made it clear there is no firesale taking place in Jacksonville, which is 0-4 for the third time in franchise history and has a league-low 31 points.
Around the league
Wide receiver Chris Williams, who negotiated his release from the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger Cats this week, signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints, according to his agent. … New York Jets defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples are appealing their fines by the NFL for hits on Tennessee’s Jake Locker.