Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman is on injured reserve, but that won’t stop him from facing (and serving) his second suspension in as many years since joining Chicago’s defense.
The team shared a statement from an NFL spokesperson announcing Freeman’s 10-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Freeman will immediately begin serving his suspension (without pay) while on on injured reserve. The Bears have just eight games left in this season, so unless they make the playoffs, Freeman’s suspension will roll over to the 2018 season.
Freeman has since tweeted this statement in response:
— Jerrell Freeman (@JerrellFreeman) October 30, 2017
This is Freeman’s second suspension as a member of the Bears. He missed four games in 2016 for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy (the first time). It’s quite disappointing to see Freeman, who is one of the Bears’ captains, dinged as a two-time offender of the league’s PED policy – it’s just not a great look for a captain and a terrible example to set for younger players.
And here’s a reminder: Freeman earned an “elite” 93.9 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2016, which placed him one of the top defenders in the league – his second straight season earning such a distinction.
Fortunately, the Bears haven’t really missed a beat without Freeman, as Nick Kwiatkoski and Christian Jones have held down the position and teamed with Danny Trevathan to form a formidable tandem in the middle. Even still, whenever someone who should be starting is lost, the depth takes a massive hit, even if his primary replacement is really good.
So, all things considered, yeah, it sucks to lose Freeman for the next ten games (especially just a year ahead of his last contracted season with the Bears). Hopefully, he learns from this latest round of discipline and returns to the Bears next season as a new, clean man and contributor.