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Buccaneers coach Schiano: ‘Josh Freeman is our quarterback’

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 06:02 PM

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -

Josh Freeman will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback going forward and can help the team win a Super Bowl, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said Thursday.

“Josh Freeman is our quarterback and I believe that with Josh Freeman, we’ll be able to accomplish our goals,’’ Schiano said while chatting with reporters at the NFL scouting combine. “That’s my belief and our organization’s belief.’’

Schiano’s endorsement marked his first comments since Jan. 1, the day after the season ended, when Schiano said he needed to evaluate Freeman before deciding whether he was best for the team moving forward.

Also that day, Schiano said he wanted competition at every position, including quarterback, a remark that sparked speculation about Freeman’s future as the Bucs’ starter.

“At the end of the season, the day after the final game, I probably said something that got a lot more attention than I meant for it to and that it needed to,’’ Schiano said Thursday. “At that point, every year that I’ve been a head coach, I step back and evaluate every phase of our program and that takes a while. And I even said I didn’t know if I was the right guy, let me figure that out first.

“And we went through the staff and every player and the one thing I believe in is that competition is healthy, so I made the statement that I want competition at every position and it’s my fault. But it kind of stood out at the quarterback position more than any other. And we’ve been busy working and I haven’t had a chance to clean that up, so I’m glad I had an opportunity to today.’’

Freeman, 25, set career highs by throwing for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2012, but was intercepted four times apiece in consecutive, late-season losses to New Orleans and St. Louis.

The No. 17 overall draft pick out of Kansas State in 2009, Freeman has started 56 games for the Bucs. He enters the final year of his rookie contract in 2013.

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