Josh Freeman was enjoying the Christmas holiday in Kansas City last week, still working out and hopeful for another NFL opportunity.
The quarterback has been wondering not if but when another NFL team would give him a chance.
He got a call from the Indianapolis Colts, who have gone through three injured quarterbacks and have an obvious need for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts (7-8) are a very slim chance of making the playoffs — they need nine games to go their way — but are not yet mathematically eliminated.
Not that Freeman, the 17th-overall pick by Tampa Bay in 2009, is overly concerned about that. He hasn’t taken an NFL snap since 2013 with Minnesota. His last game action was with the Brooklyn Bolts in the Fall Experimental Football League.
He worked out on Monday, signed Tuesday and after a non-stop cramming session to learn as much of the playbook as possible, the sixth-year pro shared first-team snaps with fellow new addition Ryan Lindley during Wednesday’s practice.
Did he think he would get another shot?
“Of course,” Freeman said. “That’s the thing with this game, when you are a free agent you have to stay in shape, you have to stay ready because you never know. This is leading up to the final week of the NFL season and lo and behold somebody goes down, somebody needs somebody and they gave me a call.”
He and Lindley were needed because Andrew Luck hasn’t been cleared, backup Matt Hasselbeck is doubtful with a back injury among other issues and backup Charlie Whitehurst was placed on injured reserve Monday.
Can Freeman get up to speed in a short amount of time to play?
“I guess we’ll see Sunday,” he said. “My main focus right now, as is the team’s focus, is getting as prepared as we possibly can to move forward and go out and hopefully win this game on Sunday.
“For me personally, coming in, learning the system, it’s just about studying, grinding (and) paying attention to every little detail the coaches are laying down there. Matt (Hasselbeck) and Andrew (Luck), they have been great in the meeting room relaying messages and really showing me different ways and how things go and different ways to remember things and different ways to act them out on the field.”
Freeman played poorly in his lone start with the Vikings. And his subpar play eventually prompted the Buccaneers to give up on him after three starts in 2013. He’s completed just 57.6 percent of his passes in 61 career games with 80 touchdowns and 67 interceptions. He’s taken 111 sacks and lost 13 of 39 fumbles.
But for now, Freeman and Lindley are doing what they can to instill confidence in the coaching staff about who should start. Head coach Chuck Pagano said the Colts might not decide on a starter until Sunday morning.
“I wouldn’t look at it like a competition,” Freeman said. “All six of us in that (quarterback) room are striving for the same goal, which is ultimately going out and getting a win on Sunday.
“So my focus internally is just trying to be the best player I can be and if my number is called, be ready to go out and do what needs to be done to get a win.”
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