Blue Monday for Bears

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Adding insult to injury, the Chicago Bears lost another player on Monday, but this time, not to injury. LB Jerrell Freeman, the Bears leading tackler, was suspended by the NFL four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy on performing enhancing drugs (PED’s).

Freeman’s suspension comes less than a week after Chicago WR Alshon Jeffery was also sidelined for the same violation. Freeman leads the Bears defense in stops this season with 91 and is in the first-year of a three-year contract he signed with the club last spring after a standout career in Indianapolis.  He’ll be eligible to return to practice on December 19 for the final two regular season games.

Freeman issued a brief statement after the announcement saying ” I would like to apologize to  my coaches, teammates, the Bears organization and Bears fans for the embarrassment I’ve caused myself and the team. I made a mistake with my prescription medication for which I take full responsibility.”

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Head coach John Fox, who is getting used to bad news, held Freeman accountable. “Obviously, much like Alshon, I’m very disappointed. These guys understand all the parameters of the drug testing involved in our league.”

The loss of Freeman is another blow to a Bears team beset with injuries and raises questions about the organization

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and coaching staff’s oversight and due diligence. While players are ultimately responsible, the team should have some influence and procedures in place to avoid such indiscretions.

While still licking their wounds from Sunday’s 22-16 loss to the New York Giants, the Bears are faced with the possibility of playing the remainder of the schedule without QB Jay Cutler. Cutler injured his shoulder in Sunday’s game, where he was sacked four times, and reportedly could be shut down. If that’s the case, the Bears must turn to Matt Barkley, the former USC star who appeared shaky in limited duty earlier in the season.

First Downs: The Bears waived DL Jimmy Staten. Staten was signed last week to reinforce a unit missing Mitch Unrein and Eddie Goldman….OLB Leonard Floyd, the Bears first-round pick from Georgia, is, thankfully, entering the NFL’s concussion protocol with a diagnosis, after suffering what appeared to be a serious injury. Floyd was carted off the field and whisked away to the hospital with a possible neck injury. He was later released and accompanied the Bears back to Chicago last night….TE Zach Miller, one of the few bright spots on offense, finds himself once again sidelined with an injury. Miller, a consistent and reliable receiver, broke his foot late in the first half Sunday.

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