Freeman: No more guns during season

TAMPA, Fla. – Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman said he no longer will partake in one of his favorite hobbies during the NFL season.

Freeman, who suffered a sprained right thumb in an October loss to the Chicago Bears in London, confirmed reports that he cut his thumb while firing a pistol at a local gun range during the bye week.

“In hindsight, it wasn’t the smartest decision,’’ Freeman said. “Gotta learn from it. No more shooting guns in season.’’

Freeman said he doesn’t go to the range often during the season, but practices his shooting with more frequency in the offseason. Freeman said he had gone to the range one other time this season and that was on a Tuesday when players are off.

“With a little free time during the bye week, I like to use the gun range,’’ Freeman said. “It’s a bit of an escape. I grew up shooting guns with my dad and I’ve always enjoyed shooting guns as a recreational thing.’’

Freeman said he had fired that same pistol “countless times’’ without any problems. But he said something went wrong with the recoil that day.

“It’s always been a bit of a hobby,’’ Freeman said. “I always practice in safety. It was just a little bit of a freak incident.’’

Freeman did not miss any practice time and has played in every game since the accident. Freeman said the cut on his thumb hasn’t impacted his throwing. Freeman threw for 281 yards and a touchdown in the first game after the accident, a loss at New Orleans.

“The scratch on the thumb was purely cosmetic,’’ Freeman said. “The main thing that affected me was the sprain. Game in, game out, kept getting hit and it kept flaring back up. But it was mainly the sprain.’’

In the three games since New Orleans, Freeman has thrown four touchdowns and six interceptions, but he did throw for a season-high 342 yards in a Nov. 20 loss at Green Bay.