Alouettes quarterback Josh Freeman retires

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Josh Freeman has retired.

The team made the announcement Saturday morning.

“We would like to thank Josh for his work and dedication. He was a consummate professional throughout camp,” Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed said in a statement. “We respect his decision and we wish him the best in the future.”

The 30-year-old Freeman was Tampa Bay’s first-round draft pick in 2009 and was the Buccaneers’ starter through the 2013 campaign, before moving to Minnesota and Indianapolis. He played his last game for the Colts in January 2016 and threw for 11,108 yards and 48 touchdowns in his NFL career.

Freeman was signed by the Alouettes in January and was expected to contend for the starting job under new head coach Mike Sherman – the team brought him to CFL Week in Winnipeg as one of their showcase players.

“I’m in shape. I have an open mind, willing to learn,” Freeman said this week. “I’m taking it one day at a time.”

But recent reports out of Montreal’s training camp had Freeman struggling to adjust to the CFL game.

With Freeman gone, former Riders and Bombers quarterback Drew Willy becomes the front-runner to be Alouettes’ starter to begin the season. The team also has Matt Shiltz, Antonio Pipkin and newcomer Garrett Fugate in camp.

The 31-year-old Willy has 52 games of CFL experience and spent last season as the back up to Darian Durant. He completed 54 passes for 547 yards and one touchdown in six games.

Shiltz, 25, was working as an accountant when he was invited to the Alouettes mini-camp in April 2017 and spent most of last season as the third-string quarterback, seeing action in four games including a start in the team’s final game. In doing so, he became 12th quarterback to start a game for Montreal since Anthony Calvillo played his last game in 2013.


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