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Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman has been suspended for the next four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Of course, this comes on the heels of Alshon Jeffery‘s four-game suspension for PEDs. Jeffery claimed that he accidentally ingested a banned substance, but it remains to be seen what Freeman’s defense will be.
Freeman has established himself as one of Chicago’s top defenders, so his absence will definitely be noticed. Between the two bans, the Bears are now missing two of their very best players in the second half of the season. Of course, at 2-8, the Bears aren’t playing for much at this juncture, but it’s still bad for morale and not a good look for John Fox & Co.
Freeman came to the Bears on a three-year deal worth $12MM this March. The pact includes $6MM in guaranteed money and those terms may change following Freeman’s suspension. Already a solid inside linebacker heading into 2015, Freeman took his play to another level by significantly improving his play against the run. This year, he took another leap forward and currently stands as PFF’s No. 2 ranked linebacker in the NFL. He is topped only by Luke Kuechly of the Panthers. Sadly, both players are in for extended absences, but for different reasons.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.