Buccaneers strip Josh Freeman of captaincy

Josh Freeman may be the leader of the Buccaneers’ huddle, but that’s as far as his reach now extends.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Freeman was not chosen to be one of the team’s captains for the 2013 season. The fifth-year quarterback had held the honor for the previous three years.

Instead, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Davin Joseph will function as the offensive captains, roles which are voted upon by the players.

Jackson, last year’s marquee free agent acquisition, is coming off a Pro Bowl campaign and mentors the younger receivers. Joseph missed all of last season, but returns as the unquestioned leader along the Bucs’ O-line.

Freeman’s “demotion” has already grabbed headlines, prompting Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano to begin the spin cycle.

“I know one thing: Josh is going to lead,” Schiano told reporters, via ProFootballTalk.com.  “Josh is a leader, so I’m not concerned about that.  If you look the last two years, Davin didn’t play last year, so, when we voted, Davin was out for the year.  The year before, Vincent wasn’t on the team.  Those two guys are strong leaders and it just so happens that Josh is on a team with other strong leaders.  But I wouldn’t read to that that Josh isn’t a leader.  I’ll tell you, to a man, I think every offensive player will say, ‘We follow No. 5.’  So I think it’s a good thing.  I guess it all depends how you look at it, but I’m fine with it.”

Schiano is fine with it because this gives him more leeway should he decide to replace Freeman with rookie Mike Glennon during the season. The Bucs burned a third-round draft pick on Glennon, which brought about speculation that the organization may have doubts about Freeman as the long-term quarterback.

Freeman losing his captaincy is no reason to jump to any conclusions, but it does raise more questions for the 25-year-old. Those whispers you hear are Fran Tarkenton saying, “Told you so.”

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, MSN.com, FanSided.com, and About.com. Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (zpkelb@gmail.com).