The seeds of Josh Freeman's demise were planted long ago, when Greg Schiano fell for his first quarterback.
Schiano recruited a tall, blonde QB named Mike Glennon back in his Rutgers days, only Glennon decided to attend N.C. State instead. He performed well for the Wolfpack, but was prone to wild ups-and-downs. He threw for 7,075 yards and 62 touchdowns in his two seasons as a starter in college, but that came along with 31 interceptions. Yours truly witnessed him throw four picks against Tennessee in a demoralizing loss that set the Wolfpack up for a 7-6 season and the firing of head coach Tom O'Brien.
During that time, Schiano grew infatuated with Glennon. He yearned for a decent quarterback in 2009, when his Scarlet Knights limped out to a 1-6 conference record…in the Big East. Schiano was determined to reunite with his long-lost quarterback. He spurned Miami, the first team to hire him, as he knew Glennon could not possibly transfer to a conference rival. They somehow had to meet in the pros.
Despite Schiano's 28-48 conference record at Rutgers, he knew he had to find a way into the NFL. While out on his morning jog near the field where the athletic teams stretched, he saw a lacrosse player with “Belichick” written across the back. Could it be? It was.
Schiano quickly signed him up as a long-snapper and befriended his father, Bill. He informed his fellow coach about his dilemma. Bemused but enticed by the thought of one less team to contend with, Belichick went along and put in a good word with the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay quickly hired him after losing out on Chip Kelly, an unfortunate choice since they already had a first round quarterback, Freeman, who essentially wrote the Buccaneers' record books during his short tenure. Schiano was not deterred. He declared Glennon the highest-rated player on the board, according to GM Mark Dominik. They chose him with the 73rd selection, a steal.
Finally the two were reunited. They met shortly after the draft. Schiano said, “‘I missed out on you five years ago. I wasn’t going to miss out on you again,’” according to Glennon.
But before their passion could truly be revealed, Schiano still had to get out of his current coach-QB relationship. But how? Freeman clearly earned the right to start.
He went to Tampa Bay's owner, Malcolm Glazer, and asked for advice. Glazer put him in touch with Karl Rove, whom he knew thanks to his connection with the Bush family after buying Zapata Offshore from George H. W. Bush. Rove recommended an all-out smear campaign.
Schiano started with Freeman's teammates. Though they voted him team captain, Schiano changed the votes. Besides, a soon-to-be back-up quarterback had no business being a captain. During the meeting afterwards, Schiano took Freeman's phone and changed his alarm so he would miss the team photo. He told the press Freeman was late to several events, just to make sure.
Rumors swirled about problems within the camp, and reports suggested Freeman might soon be traded.
Schiano was close. All he needed was a final push to force Freeman out. Aha! Freeman's frequent drug testing! He always wondered what those tests were all about. Now would be his chance to find out and do Freeman in for good.
Despite strict laws to the contrary, Schiano leaked information to the press stating that Freeman was in stage one of the NFL's drug program. He quickly named Glennon the starter before the news hit, then announced he would call every team looking for a home for Josh Freeman.
Freeman was screwed. In response, he asked to be cut, clearing the path for a controversy-free dance around the NFL for Schiano and Glennon.
Though they lost in their debut to the Arizona Cardinals, scoring a meager 10 points, that's OK for Schaino and Glennon, so long as they have each other.