October 2, 2013

NFL Notebook: Players union suspects Bucs betrayed QB

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - The NFL Players Association wants to determine if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leaked information about quarterback Josh Freeman being in the NFL's substance abuse program.

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Ben Roethlisberger will have to wait to try to get his 0-4 Steelers out of the winless column. Pittsburgh has a bye week following its Sunday loss in London to Minnesota.

The Associated Press

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Tuesday, "We are sufficiently concerned about what we've heard to begin an investigation."

Freeman said in a statement late Monday that he voluntarily entered the substance-abuse program and submitted to random testing more than a year ago after he mistakenly took Ridalin instead of Adderall to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The Bucs benched the fifth-year pro last week after Freeman played poorly in the team's first three games, all losses. The quarterback believes someone within the Bucs organization leaked information about him being in the league's drug testing program.

Smith was in town Tuesday to meet with Tampa Bay players as part of a league-wide tour to discuss player benefits and other union matters.

Meanwhile, Coach Greg Schiano said he was "absolutely not" the source for an ESPN report that Freeman is in Stage I of the substance-abuse program.

Freeman's statement said he has passed all 46 drug tests he's taken for the league since entering the program.

The quarterback said he is "prescribed and permitted to take medication" to treat ADHD for the entirety of his NFL career and that he has never tested positive for "any illegal drugs or related substances."

Dashon Goldson won't be suspended for his hit on Cardinals receiver Jaron Brown, but the Tampa Bay safety could be fined.

Merton Hanks, the NFL's vice president of football operations, said the play that occurred in Sunday's game is being re-examined for a helmet-to-helmet hit but it won't warrant a suspension.

Any fine figures to be hefty after Goldson was docked $100,000 for a hit on Saints running back Darren Sproles earlier this season.

Since the 2009 season, Goldson has been called for a league-high 16 personal fouls. He joined the Buccaneers from the 49ers as a free agent this season.

JETS: New York released wide receiver Ben Obomanu and is considering other options to help offset injuries to Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill.

Obomanu had one catch for 8 yards in the team's 38-13 loss to Tennessee on Sunday, and was called for three penalties.

Holmes, sidelined most of last season with a foot injury, tweaked a hamstring and is expected to miss a few games. Hill suffered a concussion and his availability for the Jets' game Monday at Atlanta is uncertain.

EAGLES: Defensive coordinator Billy Davis isn't sugarcoating the way Peyton Manning picked apart his defense.

"We took a whooping," he said. "That's what happened. We did not play good enough to win, obviously. Those games are tough to swallow but you move on from them."

Manning and the Denver Broncos dismantled the Eagles in a 53-20 victory Sunday.

The Eagles (1-3) have the NFL's worst-ranked defense in total yards (1,787) and are second-worst in points (138).

BILLS: With C.J. Spiller's left ankle still sore and Fred Jackson set to play with a brace on his injured left knee, Buffalo's third-string running back, Tashard Choice, is ready in reserve.

Choice is preparing for the possibility of getting additional playing time Thursday night when the Bills (2-2) travel to face Cleveland (2-2). This wouldn't be the first time for Choice -- and against the Browns, no less.

In Week 3 of last season, Choice stepped in for both and finished with 91 yards rushing in a 24-14 win at Cleveland.

In other injury updates, cornerback Aaron Williams (bruised back) expects to play. And there's a chance starting safety Jairus Byrd (plantar fasciitis) could be ready after he was listed as practicing fully for the first time this season.

49ERS: Strong safety Donte Whitner was fined $21,000 for his hit on St. Louis wide receiver Chris Givens in the end zone with just under six minutes to play in Thursday's 35-11 San Francisco victory.

Whitner said he would appeal the stiff penalty and has made up T-shirts with (hash)LegalHitner on the front that he will sell to drum up support.

Whitner appeared to turn his shoulder into Givens in a successful attempt to knock the ball loose. He was called for unnecessary roughness when he appeared to make contact with Givens' helmet.

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