EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After a difficult 2013 season — including a messy split with Tampa Bay and a disastrous stint in Minnesota — quarterback Josh Freeman is getting another chance to start over in New York.
“Last year was rough all around, but I’m happy to get a new start here and have an opportunity to be there for the Giants and see where it goes,” said Freeman, who signed a one-year deal Monday.
Freeman, the Buccaneers’ first-round pick in 2009, began the Giants’ offseason conditioning program Monday as Eli Manning’s backup.
“I’m definitely excited about being a part of this great organization,” the 26-year-old Freeman said. “Obviously, it’s a chance to go play quality football, learn from some great coaches, learn from a great quarterback in Eli. ... Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
A year after throwing for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns, Freeman went 0-3 in 2013 with the Bucs before being cut on Oct. 3 in a fallout with then-coach Greg Schiano.
He signed with the Vikings five days later but was a nonfactor in Minnesota other than one start against the Giants. He struggled in that 23-7 loss, going 20 of 53 for 190 yards with an interception.
“I think, as a competitor, I don’t really see myself in that situation,” Freeman told the Newark Star-Ledger. “It’s definitely a change of pace for me and frustrating on the field. I don’t really see that happening again as long as I’m playing. I expect to go out and when I play, play well.”
Freeman’s quarterbacks coach in Minnesota was Craig Johnson, now the Giants’ running backs coach. He joins Manning, Curtis Painter and Ryan Nassib as quarterbacks on the roster. New York is expected to keep either two or three quarterbacks next season.