The Chicago Bears will be without their top offensive player for the next four games.
The team announced on Monday that Alshon Jeffery has been suspended without pay for the team’s next four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Jeffery blamed his PED violation on taking a supplement that contained an ingredient banned by the NFL’s drug policy.
“As a professional athlete, I have been careful about what I put in my body. I took a recommended supplement to combat inflammation. Unfortunately this supplement contained an ingredient that was on the NFL’s banned substance list. I take full responsibility and I’m deeply upset with myself for not doing the proper research on this supplement. I want to apologize to my family, the Bears organization, my teammates, and Bears fans. I will work hard to earn back the respect and trust of the Bears nation and look forward to being back on the field.”
The wide receiver is playing on a $14.6 million franchise tag this season after sides couldn’t come to a long-term agreement this summer. Jeffery wanted to get paid like a top-end wideout, while the team hoped to ink him to a deal around $11 million per season.
“We’re very disappointed,” Bears coach John Fox said. “He’s fairly embarrassed about it. We’ll support him and welcome him back after serving his suspension.”
While he’s the Bears biggest offensive threat, Jeffery has been mostly disappointing this season, compiling just three games with more than 80 yards. The 26-year-old wideout has just one touchdown this season.
The suspension could conceivably cost Jeffery money on the open market this offseason, as he’ll be in line for a longer ban if he fails another test in the future.
The final three games of the 2016 season could be the last for Jeffery in Chicago. With questions swirling about Jay Cutler‘s future, general manager Ryan Pace could hit the reset button on the Bears‘ offense this offseason.