Sometimes, you hear the oddest stories.
Like that Renee Zellweger has completely changed her face to look like another person. Or that Steven Tyler is trying to become a country music singer.
But one of the craziest stories I have heard in the past few weeks is that former Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman is playing football again.
In a league I have never heard of.
As a football fan, I pride myself on following all conferences and leagues, whether it be the NFL, ACC, SEC, Big 10, Mountain West, even the Canadian Football League. Heck, I was even a fan of the XFL before they decided to close up shop. If football is on, I'll watch it.
Freeman is playing for a team called the Brooklyn Bolts in the FXFL (Fall Experimental Football League), a league that has only 3 teams, with only a few players with NFL experience.
It's sad that a player with so much potential and so much promise has fallen completely off the face of the football earth. This kid impressed many while he was at Kansas State, as both a passing threat (2,945 yards with 20 TD's) and a dangerous runner (404 yards with 14 TD's) in his final year in Manhattan.
His 2010 campaign with the Buccaneers was fantastic, as he threw for 25 TD's and only 6 interceptions. He led Tampa to their best record since 2007 as they finished 10-6, and barely missed the playoffs. I truly thought him being left off the NFC Pro Bowl team was a complete miscarriage of justice.
Of course, the next year, he struggled mightily, throwing 22 picks while only passing for 16 touchdowns. He bounced back (sort of) in 2012, throwing for 27 TD's and 4,065 yards. When he wanted to be, Freeman was one of the league's most dangerous quarterbacks.
Notice how I said, when he wanted to be.
When the Greg Schiano regime (can we just forget that existed) took over, it looked like Freeman's days as starter were numbered. Schiano wanted to see more fire in Freeman, while the QB carried a more carefree and laid back attitude.
Their styles didn't mesh.
As soon as Mike Glennon was available in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers had their minds made up: Glennon was their QB and Freeman was yesterday's news. It soon became a toxic team environment, as the franchise started 0-3, Freeman missed the team photo, and started the season with a 59.3 QB rating.
It was time for the Buccaneers to wish Freeman the very best in his future endeavors.
He caught on with the Minnesota Vikings, but that didn't last too long either. He tried to catch on with the New York Giants, but that didn't happen either. In April, Freeman signed a one year deal with the Miami Dolphins, then was released, then signed again, and finally released again last month.
His career kinda reads like a country music song.
After his preseason flirt with the Dolphins, Freeman found himself once again out of a job. Needing to secure a gig, and realizing if he's out of sight he's out of mind, the former Bucs QB signed with a team in a league that no one outside of probably Brooklyn has ever heard of.
You would think that Freeman would flourish in a league with less than stellar competition, but that seems to not be the case.
If you thought Jameis Winston had a bad game on Sunday, you have to see what Josh Freeman did in his FXFL debut. http://t.co/RXI8boXR8l— Justin Pawlowski (@CommishOnline) October 7, 2015
Against the Florida Blacktips, Freeman was 9 for 16 with 32 yards, a TD, an interception and he fumbled five times. It was definitely a head scratcher to say the least.
His coach, Terry Shea, talked to the New York Times about Freeman's performance
"I've got to think that this was maybe just one of those nights where a perfect storm came together for him," Shea said. "It really controlled him."
For a kid who seemed to have it all, it's a sad tale. The good news is that he's 27, and players bounce back all of the time. I mean, from what he brought to the table in 2010 and 2012, there's got to still be some gas left in the tank. Maybe a college or pro coach can reach out to him, and help him find his game again.
Will Josh Freeman's career be another ESPN 30 for 30 tale?
I sure hope not.