Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Chicago Bears just lost another player for an extended period of time. Yesterday, it was injuries. Today, it was performance-enhancing drugs once again.
Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, according to reports, has just been suspended for four games, effective immediately, for violating the league’s policy on PEDs.
NFL announces Bears LB Jerrell Freeman has been suspended 4 games for violating NFL's policy on PEDs. #BearsTalk
— Bears Talk (@NBCSBears) November 21, 2016
In a written statement shared via Twitter, Freeman took responsibility for the failed test, claiming that it was a mistake with prescription medication.
“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.”
He joins Alshon Jeffery, who was suspended for four games starting last week, and former Bears Ego Ferguson and Tayo Fabuluje as Chicago players banned under the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Freeman, the Bears’ current leader in tackles, has arguably been the team’s best defense player this season after signing a three-year deal this offseason, owning the third highest grade of any defensive player (second among LBs) coming into yesterday’s game according to Pro Football Focus.
— Will Reeve Jr. (@WillReeveJr) November 21, 2016
For the Bears to have four instances of noted PED usage in the course of two years, especially among veteran players such as Freeman and Jeffery, is completely unacceptable. Both players should know better than that by now, so for them to supposedly not be aware of what was being put into their bodies is ridiculous. If they knowingly took banned substances, I’d rather just hear them say that.
Also, the fact that this appears not to be a fluke under John Fox’s watch is even more disturbing and should bring scrutiny upon him and everyone else involved with player physical training and fitness, not just the players.
With each passing day, the Chicago Bears appear to be achieving new levels of disaster and dysfunction. It will be mercy when this farce of a season is over.