The Chicago Bears announced on Monday afternoon that injured linebacker Jerrell Freeman has been suspended 10 games by the NFL for a second violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. The suspension begins immediately.
It is the second time in less than a year that Freeman is serving a PED suspension; last November, he was forced to miss four games.
Freeman, who is 31, has not played since the regular-season opener against Atlanta. He suffered both a torn pectoral and concussion in that game, though he said he played 55 snaps with the torn pec.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Freeman said he’s tried not to be a distraction while on injured reserve, but revealed that he’s been lying to loved ones who ask him, “Are you OK?”, and that he’s been taking pills to cope with post-concussion struggles.
“I hate to [say] I’m sorry again but I am sorry. I’ve been on IR all year and you try and stay out of sight, but sorry for the distraction,” Freeman wrote. “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.”
The NFL does not reveal which substances players are found to have used, so it is unclear what Freeman was taking.
The first player from Division III University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to make it to the NFL, Freeman played in the CFL for three seasons with Saskatchewan before signing with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. He signed a three-year, $12 million free agent contract with Chicago in 2016.