Bears' Freeman takes full responsibility for PED suspension

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bears leading tackler Jerrell Freeman remains vague about the prescription that earned him a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. But he knows who to blame. "I'm going to take full responsibility for that," said Freeman, who practiced Tuesday and is expected to be back in the starting lineup Saturday.

    Bears leading tackler Jerrell Freeman remains vague about the prescription that earned him a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. But he knows who to blame. "I'm going to take full responsibility for that," said Freeman, who practiced Tuesday and is expected to be back in the starting lineup Saturday. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/20/2016 10:04 PM

Bears leading tackler Jerrell Freeman remains vague about the prescription that earned him a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

But he knows who to blame.

 

"I'm going to take full responsibility for that," said Freeman, who practiced Tuesday and is expected to be back in the starting lineup Saturday against Washington in his customary inside linebacker position. "Whether I thought I was right or not, I don't get paid to think, I get paid to know in those situations. And I didn't get paid for those weeks. So that's just how it goes."

The suspension cost Freeman $179,928, which is 4/17ths of his base salary of $764,706. Freeman signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Bears as an unrestricted free agent last off-season that included $6 million in guaranteed money.

Freeman was originally notified of his positive test before the regular season and went through the appeal process with no satisfaction.

Having the suspension hanging over his head didn't seem to adversely affect the five-year NFL veteran, who played three years in the Canadian Football League before heading south.

"I've got a job to do," he said. "I've got to go out there and perform. I've got guys depending on me."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Freeman's production through 10 games is evident by the fact that he still holds a commanding team lead in tackles despite missing four games. According to league statistics, Freeman has 91 tackles, including 69 solos.

Freeman also was in charge of making the defensive calls.

"To come into a new system and learn it and have to be the middle linebacker and be the focal point for making the calls (is impressive)," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "He was doing a good job for us."

While Freeman was away, home in Texas and working out in Atlanta, rookie Nick Kwiatkoski made the calls and some of the tackles that Freeman had. The veteran was impressed with the rookie, who will remain at the other inside linebacker spot since starter Danny Trevathan is on injured reserve.

"He's grown up a lot from the first time I was out there with him in the (Week 3) Dallas game to now," Freeman said of the fourth-round pick from West Virginia. "Enough to where, when I went out there (Tuesday), he's helping me because there are a lot of new calls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"He's a strong guy. When he comes downhill, he's going to strike you. I'm sure everybody sees that, no question."

While Freeman had four weeks to let his body heal from the weekly grind, he knows there's some rust to knock off as far as playing on Saturday.

"You can't be in football shape without playing football," he said. "(I was) just going out there and running and working out like it's off-season workouts. You can't really simulate football."

While Freeman was not allowed any contact with the team or his teammates during his suspension, he followed them on TV.

"I loved the way they played," he said. "They battled. The guys' backs were against the wall, (but) nobody was, 'Woe is me.' Nobody's going to feel sorry for us. "They went out there and fought. It's what they do. It's what coach Fox preaches. Guys being hurt, third string, fourth string, it doesn't matter who's in there."

But having another first-stringer back on Saturday should help.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.