Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman has been suspended without pay for 10 games for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Freeman, who has been on injured reserve since suffering a torn pectoral muscle in the season opener against the Falcons, will begin serving the suspension immediately.
Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman was placed on injured reserve following the season opener against the Falcons.
Freeman has now been suspended twice in less than a year for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances, having drawn a four-game ban late last season.
"We're obviously pretty disappointed," said coach John Fox. "It's really just like last year again. It's something that we talk about very, very consistently. They are responsible for what they put in their body. I'll just leave it at that. From my perspective, that's just how I look at it."
Freeman issued a statement apologizing and revealing that he has been dealing with a career-threatening head injury that has included memory loss.
"I hate to [say] I'm sorry again but I am sorry," Freeman wrote. "I've been on IR all year and you try and stay out of sight, but sorry for the distraction. I had been lying to friends, family, and loved ones when it came to the question of 'are you OK?'
"Knowing my career may be over due [to] everything that came with the head injury (that's been purposely downplayed by me), memory loss and all, has actually been a bit of a struggle. That being said there's no excuse to cope with any problems by taking any kind of pills.
"I don't know my future but a big thanks to the Bears and the NFL. If I would have used their programs and services earlier than I did I wouldn't be in this situation. Sorry again for the distraction."
Freeman signed with the Bears last year after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts following a three-year stint in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He led the Bears with 127 tackles and seven tackles-for-loss in 2016 despite missing four games due to his suspension.