Saints-Bucs turning into 'Thumbgate'

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
3:51
PM ET
Looks like we might have a little game going on even before the Buccaneers and Saints play Sunday in New Orleans.

Raheem Morris suggested (jokingly?) that quarterback Josh Freeman was added to the injury report because the Saints made a call to the NFL office after seeing Freeman wearing padding on his thumb during an NFL Network interview.

"Ask the Saints, they reported it," Morris said when first asked about Freeman's thumb injury.

Morris went on to say that Freeman is fine and will play Sunday. Morris said the injury was minor when it first happened in the Oct. 23 game against the Bears in London and was able to practice during last week’s bye and this week.

But the Bucs got a call from the league office Thursday, strongly suggesting that Freeman be added to the injury report. The league also told the Bucs that safety Tanard Jackson should be added to the report.

Jackson left the Chicago game with a hamstring injury, but has been practicing this week. Technically, Jackson should at least be on the report. The league put in a new rule this year that a player who leaves a game or sits one out with an injury must be listed on the injury report for the following game, even if there is a bye week involved. Jackson was added to Thursday's report and the team said he did not practice.

If Morris is correct that the Saints reported the Freeman situation (and perhaps the Jackson situation) to the league office, there’s more than a bit of irony at play. Morris is one of the league’s most open coaches when discussing injuries. New Orleans’ Sean Payton follows a different path. Like a lot of coaches, Payton is extremely guarded with injury information, providing only minimal updates and only at times those updates are required by the NFL.

In fact, you could make a case that the Bucs might want to put in a call to the league office because New Orleans right tackle Zach Strief and linebacker Will Herring are not on this week’s injury report. Both were inactive Sunday, although Herring might have been a healthy scratch. But both players had been out with injuries for multiple games.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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