- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Josh Freeman overslept and missed the team's annual photo session last week, Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said Thursday, the same day the quarterback defended the coach against a report that Schiano rigged voting to prevent Freeman from being a team captain.
"That was dealt with by me internally, and we've moved on," Schiano said of Freeman missing the team photo. "That was a long time ago in football days. That's all that was to it. He overslept and missed a picture."
Said Freeman: "Basically, I overslept. Went blank."
Freeman went on to say he has moved on from the incident and is focused on beating the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
"I know exactly how [it looks]," Freeman told The Tampa Bay Times. "Quarterback is a position of leadership, and obviously, missing the team photo is a big deal. It's something I feel badly about, and it's obviously upsetting. But at the same time, I've got to put it behind me and get ready to play."
Schiano confirmed there was a players-only meeting last week but disputed reports that players suspected the voting for captains had been manipulated.
"I was not aware of any questioning on the captain's vote because there isn't any," Schiano said.
Multiple players said the team meeting didn't include mention of the voting on captains. Freeman, a captain the previous three seasons, was not elected this year.
After Freeman wasn't elected a captain for 2013, rumors flew that the second-year coach had rigged the vote.
"I know there's a story out there," Schiano, whose team went 7-9 last season, told the Times. "It's 100 percent false. If there was such a thing as 102 percent, this would be it."
When asked Thursday about the report that Schiano rigged the voting of captains, Freeman defended his coach.
"Coach would not do that," he said.
"Everybody wants to make it out like it's a demotion. I don't look at it like that. They don't look at it like that," Freeman said. "Essentially, the conversations, the day-to-day actions are the same."
Freeman is in the final year of his contract, and the team's drafting of Mike Glennon in the third round has led to widespread speculation that Freeman's tenure with the Bucs could be coming to an end.
Freeman completed just 48 percent of his attempts (15 of 31) in Tampa Bay's 18-17 loss to the New York Jets in Week 1. He threw for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception but also kicked the ball out of bounds for a safety after a bad snap.
Veteran long-snapper Andrew Economos said he was the one who called the team meeting and that it was more of a pep rally to start the season off on a good note.
"I trust the players," Schiano said. "When the leadership of the team wants to talk amongst themselves, I think that's healthy."
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