The Bears have released twice-suspended inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman.
The six-year veteran was the Bears' leading tackler in 2016 with 127, despite a four-game suspension for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs. The 31-year-old Freeman was lost for the season in Week One last year with a torn chest muscle, and he also suffered a concussion in that game, in which he led the Bears with 10 tackles. Eight weeks later, insult was added to injury, when he was suspended 10 games for again violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. That suspension carries over to include the first game in the 2018 season.
Freeman was named a team captain at the start of last season. In four of the five seasons previous to 2017, Freeman accumulated more than 110 tackles, including three of his four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2012-15). The Colts signed the undrafted Freeman as a free agent after he played three seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2009-11) in the Canadian Football League.
Freeman is still an above-average starter when he's on the field, although he's played in just 13 games the past two years. Since all the guaranteed money from his three-year, $12-million deal has been paid out, the Bears will save his $3.5-million base salary for 2018.