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Ex-Bear Freeman announces retirement from NFL

Former Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman on Wednesday announced his retirement from the NFL.

Freeman, who turned 32 on Tuesday, signed with the Bears in 2016. He led the team with 127 tackles and seven tackles-for-loss despite serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Freeman then suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the 2017 season opener against the Falcons and was placed on injured reserve. He was then suspended a second time last Oct. 30, this time for 10 games for again violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Freeman joined the Bears after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts following a three-year stint in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He originally entered the NFL in 2008 as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans, but he was waived before the start of the regular season.

On the first series of Freeman's NFL career in 2012 with the Colts, he intercepted a Jay Cutler pass and returned it four yards for a touchdown in an eventual 41-21 loss to the Bears.

"I will be retiring from the NFL today," Freeman announced on social media. "My health and my family are my top priorities. I wanted to thank all the coaches and teammates I have played with over the years; you have impacted my life more than you'll ever know!

"I want to thank all the amazing and passionate fans that I've been able to play in front of and interact with. I also want to thank the NFLPA, NFL and the CFL. I've been blessed to come from an undrafted free agent from UMHB (University of Mary Hardin-Baylor), to playing for some of the most amazing organizations.

"Thank you Bears, Colts, Roughriders, and yes even the Titans (where I only had enough time to grab a cup of coffee, haha) … you will always be like family. It's been a long and rewarding journey, thank you to all that came along for the ride!!"

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