The Chicago Bears have released veteran linebacker and former CFL star Jerrell Freeman, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Freeman spent the past two seasons with the Bears after four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He played just one game last season after suffering a pectoral injury and missed four games his first season in Chicago serving a PED suspension.
Freeman said he was experiencing memory loss and feared his career might be ending due to the head injury.
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“I’ve been on IR all year and you try and stay out of sight, but sorry for the distraction,” Freeman wrote on Twitter after the suspension. “I had been lying to friends, family and loved ones when it came to the question of ‘Are you OK?’. Knowing my career may over due 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 was signed by the Bears to a three-year, $12-million deal in March 2016, of which $6 million was guaranteed. The team is on the hook for only $500,000 in dead cap with the release of Freeman.
The Bears were benefited by the emergence of second-year linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in place of Freeman, who missed 19 games during his two seasons in Chicago. Kwiatkoski projects to start at inside linebacker alongside veteran Danny Trevathan.
Releasing Freeman marks the Bears’ first significant roster move of this offseason. The team could release several other players in the coming weeks to open cap space ahead of free agency.