Josh Freeman is used to scrutiny -- it comes with the position. While the sports world was abuzz about Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton's calling Freeman 'God awful,' it came as news to number 5.
"Well, obviously, he's Fran Tarkenton. His career speaks for itself," Freeman said. "He's a Hall of Famer. But at the same time, everybody, they're entitled to their own opinion. The important thing is the people in this building -- coaches, teammates -- they've got faith, and they know who I am as a player."
Freeman shrugs off the criticism like he does defenders, sticking to advice that his dad gave him in high school.
"I remember in high school my dad kind of just [saying], 'Hey, you can't let anybody pollute your thought process, pollute your mind. Telling you you're great, telling you you're awful, either way you know who you are [and] you have to go after that,' " Freeman recalled.
"Then in college, same thing where the media kind of amps up. It's funny because half the time I don't know anything that's going on until my family calls me like, 'Hey, don't listen to them.' I'm just like, 'I have no idea what's going on.' Really, you just have to focus on the things you can control and, like my dad said, don't waver for anything or anybody. You know who you are, you know who your team is and go out and do it."
There is a noticeable difference with Josh Freeman this year from the perspective of his teammates. It's nowhere near what Fran Tarkenton thinks.
"I think he's awesome," said Mike Williams. I think he's one of the best in the league."
"Before, 'Free' was our leader," said Gerald McCoy. "Now's he's like, the way he's taking control of the offense is like, No, you all listen to me."
Freeman gets the chance to answer his critics Saturday night in Miami: A preseason game in which he'll get significant playing time. Winning isn't the goal. Freeman has more important priorities.
"We want to come out and have a fast start," said Freeman. "That's the main goal. We have the ability to, for sure. It's just going to be a matter of guys locking in, focusing and ultimately doing their job and me doing my job as well."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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