Bucs need to stop the Freeman circus

TAMPA, Fla. -- Greg Schiano isn’t a good dancer, so someone please stop the music.

The coach of the 0-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent a good chunk of his Monday doing his best not to directly answer questions about the status of former starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

"I’m not going to be naïve," Schiano said. "There are a lot of factors involved. This is not high school football. It’s professional football. There are salaries and there are contracts and there are those things involved. What I do is I focus on the things that are going to help us win games."

What’s going on around One Buccaneer Place is a soap opera, and it has more of a high school than professional feel. Schiano and Freeman are involved in a standoff that needs to end now because it’s not doing the rest of the team any good.

The Bucs have plenty of other problems to work on as they go through a bye week. They need the couple that already has divorced internally to go ahead and officially separate.

No matter which side you came down on in the original benching of Freeman, it’s pretty clear he can’t be around this team anymore. Intentionally or not, he has become a distraction and the situation has become a circus.

The latest example came Monday afternoon when the locker room was open to the media. Mike Glennon and Dan Orlovsky, the team’s other two quarterbacks, appeared to come out of a meeting. Each of them went to their locker, grabbed some things and left.

A few minutes later, a team employee was seen gathering up a few items at Freeman’s locker. The employee walked into a hallway by the equipment room and handed the stuff to Freeman, who never entered the locker room.

If there’s any logic in the building, Freeman should never enter the locker room again. In an exclusive interview with ESPN last week, Freeman said he would like to be traded.

So trade the guy -- if you can. Minnesota and Tennessee look desperate for quarterback help, but are they desperate enough to take a shot on Freeman after watching what has happened the past few weeks? Is anybody going to get more desperate in the days before the Oct. 29 trade deadline?

Maybe and maybe not. If the Bucs want to wait to see if someone pushes the panic button and gives them a draft pick for Freeman, they should do what former coach Jon Gruden did to former receiver Keyshawn Johnson back in the day. They should send Freeman home, pay him to stay away and keep his rights.

Or there’s another option. The Bucs could go ahead and just release Freeman now. It would mean giving up on a former first-round draft pick and that never looks good.

But the Bucs already have given up on Freeman and the whole thing has been ugly. There’s no sense dragging this out any longer.

The Bucs need to stop the music.