Posted October 01, 2013

Josh Freeman explains participation in NFL drug program

NFC South, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 2013 NFL season has been far more complicated for Josh Freeman than he ever imagined. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The 2013 NFL season has been a tremendous struggle for Josh Freeman. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

It has not been a good season for Josh Freeman. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback has been demoted after a three-game stretch and the Bucs even asked him to watch their most recent game from a suite at Raymond James Stadium. This happened after Freeman was declared inactive prior to the Buccaneers’ 13-10 loss to Arizona, in which rookie quarterback Mike Glennon threw two game-changing interceptions. Freeman, the team’s first-round pick in 2009, has asked to be traded or released.

Things got even stranger on Monday, when a report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen revealed that Freeman was a Stage 1 participant in the NFL’s drug program. Mortensen’s report indicated that Freeman has a temporary use exemption for a prescription drug that would otherwise be outside the boundaries of the NFL’s substance-abuse policies. There are three stages to the program, and a player’s status is dependent on several factors. A Stage 1 status does not automatically indicate that Freeman ever tested positive for any banned substance without an exemption.

As Mortensen reported, teams perhaps interested in Freeman as a trade asset are allowed to know his standing in the league’s drug program only if he is one strike away from a suspension. Freeman has never tested positive for a banned substance, based on the exemption. Thus, the “league and player sources” who gave the information to Mortensen were violating Freeman’s confidentiality rights.

In response to this, Freeman issued a Monday statement through his agents explaining the report, and his participation in the program. Pro Football Talk was the first to post it.

Let me be very clear. I have NEVER tested positive for any illegal drugs or related substances. Further, I have agreed to take, and have PASSED 46 NFL-regulated drug tests over the last year and a half.

Since the confidentiality of my medical status has been publicly violated, I am choosing to address this matter so that grossly erroneous assumptions about me do not persist.  Like millions of Americans, I have ADHD and I have been prescribed and permitted to take medication to treat this condition for the entirety of my NFL career.  Well over a year ago, I took a different medication for the same condition (Ritalin rather than Adderall) , and to assure everyone that the error was a one-time mistake, I agreed to be voluntarily tested in the “NFL Program”.  Since that time, I have taken and passed all 46 drug tests I’ve been given, which test for every drug and banned substance imaginable. I agreed to allow such testing to be done at my workplace (team facility) because I spend all of my time there and I have nothing whatsoever to hide or be embarrassed about.

Unfortunately, it appears that some people who may have noticed the testing at my workplace have made hurtful and incorrect assumptions and chosen to disseminate inaccurate and very disturbing information. It is a shame that when times have gotten tough, people have chosen to attack the character of others, rather than supporting each other. I remain dedicated and focused to being the best quarterback I can be and to help a team win a championship.

There is no indication who released this information.

75 comments
biggboi
biggboi

josh going somewhere else and win cause bucs are not loyal to no1

Gs1
Gs1

What is Adderall: Amphetamine mixed salts is a pharmaceutical drug used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. The active ingredient contained in this medication is a mixture of the salts of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, BOTH OF WHICH ACT AS STIMULANTS!!!

IIt doesn't matter if it's Ritalin either, they are both stimulants ; They are PEDs; it shouldn't matter whether he has ADHD or not. If a player has a chronic shoulder problem, is he allowed to take anabolic steroids in order help in the recovery in between games? No, he's not! If a player has low testosterone because he has a hereditary disposition to it, is he allowed to take Testosterone Andronate? No he's not!  Maybe Freeman should ask to be traded to the Seatlle SeAdderalls where his actions seem to be accepted.

zombikilla
zombikilla

Ridiculious.....

There is no such thing as ADHD or ADD or any other excuse we have created for our "problems"!

bestfantasysportshub
bestfantasysportshub

This is not good at all for Josh Freeman, bad season and now this news hits...

EugeneSaxe
EugeneSaxe

It's amazing how many pro athletes suffer from a condition that is treated with a legal stimulant...

gary41
gary41

One of a series of orchestrated problems.  Schiano will be out, before the end of the season.  

closetjaysfan
closetjaysfan

It would really surprise me if this came from Schiano or mgmt.  as it would spoil any trade value.  I say that with the caveat that I appreciate this is a weird situation to say the least.  The whole watch from the pressbox thing leads me to believe that there is more going on here.

JancarloGamarra
JancarloGamarra

Talk all that ish,,, but this is not the first time tampa has run a qb out with their tail between their legs, only to turn around to bite us in the butt by winning a superbowl. Steve Young, Doug Williams, and the real killer, Trent Differ. When will we learn? Good luck Josh, and to the tampa bay franchise,, please get your ish together!

HarshRealities
HarshRealities

No body wants a QB that has led the NFL in turnovers over the past 2 seasons, has a completion percentage of less than 50%, and has the lowest QBR in the NFL.

Bucky182
Bucky182

Stupid. All of it. By no means am I saying Freeman is a saint but wouldn't you think a team wanting to trade a guy would keep the crap to a minimum? With this smear campaign the Bucs are probably not going to get much, if anything, for him now.

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

Freeman prediction:  out of the league in 12 months, broke in 6 months, selling crack on the corner in the projects where he belongs in 3 months.

joeshine730
joeshine730

Nothing like a drug addict leading your NFL team.  Just cut the addict.

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

My suggestion to that punk Freeman is as follows:  go to backyard, throw rope over tree, stick head through noose, step on chair, knock chair over.  Put us out of our misery of having to listen to your prima donna loser ways please.

Keats1821
Keats1821

While this story might have come from someone within the Bucs organization, I would have to think that it was a low level member (trainer, intern, whatever). Schiano and Dominik want this guy out of town. Releasing information like this potentially hurts what little trade value he has, so it make no sense for the management to want something that can easily be misconstrued out there. If he has ADHD they will need to disclose it to the team they are trading him to anyways.

pamperofirpo
pamperofirpo

This actually explains a lot. With ADD, it would be nigh impossible to play QB at the highest level...even with meds. No wonder Freeman does so many goofy things. Freeman is finished in the NFL. No team will touch him with a ten foot pole.

NoQNoSuperBowl
NoQNoSuperBowl

The Bucs management is insane if they are behind this. These personal attacks are not helping the guy's trade value.

Jon8
Jon8

I think the Jets would take this guy in a heartbeat!

jaxnole
jaxnole

I was told I had ADHD, but I didn't believe it for a seco...oooh, look, a squirrel!

JohnnyNacho
JohnnyNacho

Tampa seemed to be on the rise with a descent running game in Martin plus they were taking strides to improve their defense.  Beefing the offensive line to help a young quarterback succeed....then like a house of cards all came falling down.

opaque2
opaque2

There is either more to this story or, more likely, this is just more click bait.

Jesse K
Jesse K

@Gs1 You're logic is correct but the reality is much different.  I'm a doctor who specializes in adolescent psych.  Freeman had diagnosed ADHD.  Assuming this was diagnosed by a professional, which with how careful the NFL is with prescription drugs I'm guessing it was, stimulants act to correct a deficit/imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain and actually act to calm the patient.  It's much different than a healthy person using stimulants.  Either way though, chronic use of a stimulant (as opposed to occasional recreational use) would ultimately hurt performance anyway.  It's not comparable to anabolics at all.

mesteve8
mesteve8

@zombikilla It's not that there isn't such a thing as ADHD or ADD, it's that we all have it.

NoBiasIntended
NoBiasIntended

@zombikilla There are no such things as Zombies either, whats your point.  The premise of the story is they violated hippa* to make it look like he is a drug addict.

NoBiasIntended
NoBiasIntended

@bestfantasysportshub Actually this helps him in the public eye and definitely hurts the Tampa origination.  This is a smear campaign gone wrong on Tampa's part.

HarshRealities
HarshRealities

@Bucky182 Which is why the source was not from Buc management or coaches. Note Mortensen stated that the information came from "league and player sources." Freeman does not have many friends among the players for the Bucs.

NoBiasIntended
NoBiasIntended

@thebigdawg3 Your post reflect your own thoughts and ambitions, that's pretty clear.  You're trying to look like a troll, when really your just telling people how you feel about yourself.

EricWilliams1
EricWilliams1

@thebigdawg3 sugesting that someone kill themselves because you're upset about your team tells me you're nuts!!! 

jbber
jbber

@thebigdawg3 Huh? You are a much bigger downer than he is. Sounds like you've been doing some thinking...

BrianBigger
BrianBigger

@Keats1821 It doesn't hurt a trade in the least.  Teams interested in the player, would have access to that information..  Just more crap from this lousy organization.

NoBiasIntended
NoBiasIntended

@pamperofirpo Even football players have mental problems, Charles Haley was Bi-Polar, big time and probably took medication, does this make him an addict?

train805
train805

That is a highly ignorant statement. There are many extremely successful professional athletes, (including qb's) who have ADHD. Trying to make a joke about it makes you sound like an ignoramus.

MichaelWallis1
MichaelWallis1

@Jon8, umm I don't think so, not with the way Geno Smith has been playing. I thought Cleveland would be a good place for him but Bryan Hoyer has been playing very well for the team and they are winning. Jacksonville will likely have a top three pick and a franchise quarterback from the draft. I really do not know where the kid will end up. 

NoBiasIntended
NoBiasIntended

@opaque2 Honestly I think its Schiano trying to get his team back.. he lost them after the victory formation debacle.

dilio
dilio

@mesteve8 @zombikillaUnlike cancer where you either have cancer or you don't, the ADHD spectrum falls on a continuum, and the cutoff point between ADHD and normal is artificial. It's the way we say someone is 'ugly' by comparing them to more attractive people. How someone is 'stupid' by being compared to an intelligent person. I assume you don't believe every human is equally smart and equally attractive? Why would this be any different for a myriad of other behaviors, influenced by genetics/biology? In this case: biological diversity concerning dopaminergic neurotransmission that has influence on concentration, impulsivity, etc.


Or, do you really believe that every human has the same biology? Of course you don't. But even if you still are convinced ADHD is not real and the explanation of its underlying mechanisms are false, how does that make a difference? It's a fact that 'ADHD' people have a harder time keeping up with the rest of society and for this they are given stimulants. But even if ADHD is made up, the pills still help those prescribed live a better life. To live a life as a normal person. To get a diploma. To be able to maintain stable relationships. To not forget everything, all the time. To be able to control your impulses. Is that so wrong to want that, ADHD or no ADHD?

I've taken ample amounts of drugs so I can say this backed up by experience: taking the medication as prescribed does not get you high. No, not even 'a little high'. It's the same way opiates used for a cough or for pain would not get you 'high'. The medication helps the lives of those need it. They're not getting them high, they're leveling the playing field for them.

zombikilla
zombikilla

@NoBiasIntended @zombikilla "There are no such things as Zombies either..."

Whatever!!! At least I'm not blaming my "problems" on something that "doesn't exsist"!!!

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@NoBiasIntended @bestfantasysportshub Exactly.  This incident has improved Freeman's image, if anything, and lends yet more weight to the notion that his downfall in Tampa has been engineered by Schiano and his staff... even perhaps the on-field performance regression.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@train805  

Touchy, touchy.  Just because some do well with the condition doesn't mean all will.  Maybe Freeman is one of those who can't.  I don't see any jokes in the post.

Lighten up, Francis.

Jesse K
Jesse K

@dilio @mesteve8 @zombikilla  I'm a doctor who specializes in adolescent psych.  I couldn't agree more about the ADHD comment.  It's extremely over-diagnosed in the West & 1st World Asia but anyone who doubts whether or not it exists should go spend about 20 minutes in the pediatric acute psych ward at their local hospital.  It is a diagnosable disease both on a clinical and a pathophysiological level (chemical level basically).  

 Where this all gets tricky though, is that stimulants like this are not a long-term solution, and while they don't affect someone with ADHD the same way they do someone who is healthy, saying that all they do is correct the deficit or "level the playing field" is incorrect in the same way that saying chemotherapy just kills cancer is.  Drugs have side effects, and even in patients with ADHD stimulants can cause nasty addiction (almost all patients with the genetics for addiction have ADHD, like 95%+, the genes overlap) and all sorts of other issues.  This is why no one over 18 y/o should be on a stimulant for ADHD.  Instead they should be on one of the non-stimulant treatments like Concerta.

Also, please don't use the opiate example, it's quite irresponsible.  Opiates getting someone high has absolutely nothing to do with their pain level and everything to do with their brain chemistry and the presence of the genes/pathology for addiction.  The opiates being the most addictive class of drugs in existence, can actually cause pain in addicts under chronic use through feedback mechanisms in the brain, since pain is really just perception in the brain most of the time.  You'd be shocked at how many patients chronic back pain goes away 2-3 weeks after they're clean.