The NFL has decided to suspend wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey of the Chicago Bears for four game for violating the league's policy regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs. Although Jeffrey will only miss a couple of weeks, this suspension could affect his tenure with the team since he is about to become a free agent next year.
In a statement released by Jeffrey, he explained that he takes supplements recommended by doctors to deal with his current condition. However, he was not aware that one of the supplements he took included a substance that was on the NFL's banned list.
"As a professional athlete, I have been careful about what I put in my body," he said. "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," he added. "I will work hard to earn back the respect and trust of the Bears nation and look forward to being back on the field."
Jeffrey's suspension takes effect immediately which means he will miss the upcoming four games against the New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions.
For the following four weeks, Deonte Thompson will probably serve as the team's temporary starting wide receiver until Jeffrey comes back.
Losing Jeffrey to a suspension is the second big blow to hit the Chicago franchise. Aside from him, Kyle Long was also ruled out for the rest of the season due to an injury.
But aside from its effect on the Bears, the suspension could also affect Jeffrey's chances of re-signing a contract extension with the team.
He officially joined the Chicago organization in 2012 after signing a four-year contract. In February of this year, the Bears placed a franchise tag on him for this season. Next year though, he will become an unrestricted free agent. However, given this current issue and declining performance, the team might decide not to extend his contract.