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Bears release Jerrell Freeman, LB with two PED busts

The Bears released linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who in October was busted for his second violation of the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy in a calendar year, sources confirmed Tuesday.

A 2017 defensive captain, Freeman tore his chest muscle on the first defensive play of the Bears’ season opener and went on injured reserve. His 10-game suspension, announced Oct. 30, signaled the likely end of his Bears career. He was forced to stay away from Halas Hall for 10 games. His next positive test results in a two-year ban.

“I hate to say I’m sorry again, but I am sorry,” Freeman wrote shortly after his October suspension. “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 comes 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.

Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman was suspended in October.

“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.”

Second-year linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski took his place alongside Danny Trevathan.

Freeman and Trevathan both joined the Bears two years ago, as the team sought stability at their two inside linebacker positions. Freeman signed a three-year, $12 million contract, with $6 million guaranteed.

Freeman played 12 games in 2016 — all but the four-game suspension he received for his first violation — and only one in 2017. In the first four years of his NFL career, Freeman started 57 games for the Colts.