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Josh Freeman, New York Giants (April 22, 2014)

Josh Freeman – Photo by Connor Hughes

He doesn’t have an excuse, a reason and honestly doesn’t know why.

Just three short years ago, Josh Freeman was considered one of the up-and-coming quarterbacks in the NFL. He’d just led his team to a 10-6 season and had Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans falling in love with him.

Now? He’s Eli Manning’s backup, and is flirting heavily with the label ‘bust.’

“I can’t really place my finger on one thing exactly, what it could have been” Freeman said. “A number of things didn’t really go my way and that’s kind of how life is.”

In 2010, his second year in the league, Freeman threw for 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions. His Buccaneers just missed the playoffs, but the former first-round pick looked to warrant is No. 17 selection in the 2009 NFL Draft.

But in the ensuing two years, Freeman never experienced the same success. He threw 22 interceptions in 2011, and 17 in 2012. The Buccaneers finished a combined 11-21.

The struggles sent a once promising career into a downward spiral entering last season.

“I was going into a contract year in Tampa, next thing you know I’m cut and playing in Minnesota,” Freeman said.

Freeman’s Viking career was short lived, as it all but started and ended in the same building his new team calls home. Versus the Giants on Oct. 21, Freeman completed 20-of-53 passes, 37.7 percent, for 190 yards and an interception. He never played another down for the Vikings.

“It was an awful game,” Freeman said. “I remember coming up here and it was a rough start and a rough outing. Thinking back, maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to be.

“Like anything in your past, it’s an experience to learn from.”

Despite still viewing himself as a “starting caliber” quarterback, Freeman elected to sign with the Giants despite little-to-no chance of earning the No. 1 spot. The 26-year-old said the chance to play behind two-time Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning, was as appealing as any spot atop a depth chart.

“Having an opportunity to learn stuff from Eli,” Freeman said. “I have the opportunity to be behind a guy who has really had a lot of success year after year, continued to win and get his team to the playoffs consistently. It’s a really cool opportunity.

“I feel great. Honestly, last year didn’t turn out how I would have hoped, but at the same time, I’m happy to be a part of the Giants’ organization, and I’m happy to be moving forward.”

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Connor Hughes/BBI

Connor Hughes has been working in both the broadcasting and journalism fields for the last seven years. His work has been heard on WMCX, WBZC and Lenape District Television, while read on the pages of The Star-Ledger and The Burlington County Times. Connor can be reached via email (Connor_Hughes@bigblueinteractive.com) or on twitter (@Connor_J_Hughes)

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