The Chicago Bears announced today that inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman has been suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
The official statement from the NFL:
"Jerrell Freeman of the Chicago Bears has been suspended without pay for the team’s next four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
"Freeman’s suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to the Bears’ active roster on Monday, December 19th following the team’s December 18 game against the Green Bay Packers."
Freeman has started 10 games for the Bears this season. His 91 tackles lead the team and are ranked fifth most in the league. He's never before been suspended.
Freeman is the second Bears player in as many weeks to receive a four-game PED suspension, following WR Alshon Jeffery last week.
"Obviously much like Alshon, I’m very disappointed," head coach John Fox said today. "These guys understand all the parameters of the drug testing involved in our league. But much like Alshon, we move on and we’ll move on without Jerrell."
Fourth-round rookie Nick Kwiatkoski will start during Freeman's absence.
Freeman made the following statement on his Twitter page:
“I would like to apologize to my coaches, teammates, the Bears organization and Bears fans for the embarrassment I’ve caused myself and them. I made a mistake with my prescription medication for which I take full responsibility. As players in the NFL we’re educated on the parameters regarding substances which go into our bodies and I’ve prided myself on doing the right thing throughout my career. I look forward to getting back on the playing field in four weeks and finishing the season on a positive note.”