A bad Chicago Bears season has found a way to get even worse. On Monday, NFL officials announced wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has been suspended for four games due to a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
To begin immediately, Alshon Jeffery has been suspended the next 4 games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 14, 2016
Jeffery released a statement apologizing for violating the league’s policy and earning a suspension.
Head coach John Fox said the team is disappointed, but will support Jeffery,
“We’re very disappointed,” said Fox. “I think he’s fairly embarrassed about it, but we’ll support him and welcome him when he gets back after serving his suspension.”
Jeffery is the Bears’ top wide receiver, but for the next four games he’ll be another contributor to Chicago’s lost season. The former Pro Bowler had caught 40 passes for 630 yards and a touchdown this fall. Without him and the oft-injured Kevin White, the Bears will have to turn to Cameron Meredith and Eddie Royal as their top targets near the sideline.
The news is another depressing turn in a wretched season in the Windy City. The Bears have alternated between Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer at quarterback thanks to injuries, but neither has been able to find much success. At 2-7, Chicago is the NFC’s second-worst team.
There may be a silver lining in Jeffery’s absence, however. With the playoffs a pipe dream, losing the big wideout should help the Bears sink to the bottom of the NFL’s standings — and to the top of the 2017 NFL draft order. With passers like DeShone Kizer, Deshaun Watson, and Mitch Trubisky potentially available, Chicago will have the opportunity to pluck its quarterback of the future from the top of a talented pool.
They may not have Jeffery, however. The five-year veteran is set to become a free agent next spring after failing to negotiate a new contract with the Bears in 2016.