(CBS) Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery has been suspended for his team’s next four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the NFL announced Monday afternoon.
In a statement released early in the evening, Jeffery explained that he took a “recommended supplement to combat inflammation” that contained an ingredient that was on the banned substances list.
“I take full responsibility, and I’m deeply upset with myself for not doing the proper research on this supplement,” Jeffery said.
“I want to apologize to my family, the Bears organization, my teammates and Bears fans. I will work work to earn back the respect and trust of Bears nation and look forward to being back on the field.”
Jeffery’s suspension begins immediately, and he’ll miss games against the Giants, Titans, 49ers and Lions. He’ll be eligible to return to the active roster on Dec. 12.
Jeffery won’t be paid during the suspension, which will cost him about $3.4 million.
“We’re very disappointed,” Bears coach John Fox said. “He’s fairly embarrassed by it, but we’ll support him.”
The Bears didn’t know about Jeffery’s suspension until earlier Monday, Fox said.
The Bears have a roster spot open now, and receiver Marquess Wilson is eligible to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list. Fox indicated of Jeffery’s suspension that the Bears will “treat it like an injury” moving forward.
“We’ll have to have somebody step up,” Fox said.
“Everyone else is going to have to play that much better.”
This suspension comes in a contract year for Jeffery, as he’s playing on the franchise tag and the Bears (2-7) are evaluating whether he’s a part of their long-term plans amid a rebuild. Jeffery has 40 catches for a team-high 630 yards and a touchdown this season.
The Bears have already been without fellow starting receiver Kevin White since early October as he recovers from a fractured fibula.
Jeffery won’t be allowed to be with the team or at the practice facility for the next four weeks.
“I hope he stays in shape,” Fox said. “I think he’s done a pretty good job of that in the past. He understands how he has to go about it, and I’m fairly confident he will.”
Jeffery isn’t the first Bear in recent memory to be suspended for PEDs. Defensive lineman Ego Ferguson and offensive lineman Tayo Fabuluje were each suspended four games in 2015.