Posted by Josh Katzowitz
If you expected many NFL teams to play nice and be completely honest with their weekly practice reports and their Friday injury reports, you’re probably a little naïve. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been accused in the past of not listing those players who actually should be on the injury list or vice versa, and the Colts weren’t exactly forthcoming about Peyton Manning’s neck problems from last year (he wasn’t listed on the injury report at all).
Call it gamesmanship or, you know, cheating but if there was a league-wide investigation into how many teams misused their injury reports for their own gain, there’s a pretty good chance plenty of franchises would be found guilty.
And if another team thinks it can get ahead by turning in a future opponent to the NFL, it’s not out of the question that it will do exactly that.
Which brings us to Saints coach Sean Payton admitting Friday that he turned in the Buccaneers for their failure to make any mention of the sprained thumb suffered by quarterback Josh Freeman in the Bears game.
"Listen, I think when your quarterback's on NFL Network with a splint on his thumb, normally he's on the injury report," Payton said, via WWL TV. "At least take the splint off before you go on NFL Network, right?"
Funny about that: Freeman magically appeared on Tampa Bay’s injury list soon after, though Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris said the team had no worries about Freeman’s health and whether he could play this weekend.
"That's why we reported it, because the league asked us to,” Morris said, according to the St. Petersburg Times. “(Freeman) sprained it in the Chicago game, came in and practiced during the bye week, and didn't miss anything this week."
Considering the Saints and Buccaneers face each other this Sunday, we can’t wait to see the postgame handshake/fireworks show. Or the two could just laugh about it and chalk it up to the old, “Ah, whatcha gonna do?”
“It was probably a little gamesmanship,” Payton said. “But you gotta list those guys, the same way we do.”
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