“Where Are Your Values?”June 24th, 2013
Josh Freeman is set to earn $8.43 million plus incentives in 2013, the final year of his rookie contract that was written to pay him up to $36 million. The 25-year-old has no money problems.
Since the closing days of last season, Freeman has been asked repeatedly what his feelings are about the Bucs not giving him a contract extension, and Joe has recognized that Freeman seems more and more disappointed in the question.
It’s as if Freeman wants to answer like this, “What the hell kind of human being would I be if I was caught up in money when I’ve already hit the lottery, and God and my personal life are way more important than more cash I might never spend.”
Of course, Freeman doesn’t say that, but he appears to be getting closer to doing just that.
Take how Freeman responded to the inevitable contract question from WTSP-TV, Ch. 10 sportscaster Dave Wirth last week.
Wirth: Your future is unclear contractually. Do you think about that? Does it bother you?
Josh Freeman: No. Not at all.
Freeman: No. My relationship with Mark Dominik is great. You know, my agent’s awesome. My dad. And you know, it’s weird. Where, I mean, where, where are your values? You know. My family’s awesome. I got great friends. You know, great teammates. Do I want to be a Buccaneer the rest of my life? Heck yeah I do. But, I mean if I can focus on just me and focus on what I have to do from a football standpoint, not worry about the whirlwind, the talks, whatever is going on, if I can focus on me, you know, everything’s going to work itself out regardless.
Freeman went on to say on WDAE-AM 620 the following day that he’d be “content” and at peace if “I just give it the best I got” this season but finishes unwanted by the Bucs or “every other team in the NFL.”
It’s fantastic that Freeman has his personal values in order, though Joe admits Freeman’s public expression of them to this level is rare in a young NFL player, let alone a hungry 25-year-old who’s the face of the franchise.
But Joe’s not hung up on Freeman’s words. They’re worthless. From everything Joe has seen and heard, Freeman has a Grade A work ethic and is thoroughly devoted to football. So what if Freeman is at peace with leaving the game after this season if he’s unwanted?
Joe appreciates Freeman’s honesty and values. Joe remembers that Chucky, whose crafted image was that of the ultimate football-crazed young NFL coach, turned out to be a guy who had no problem walking away from the sidelines.