The Bears' 2016 season just went from bad to worse.
The NFL announced on Monday that wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has been suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. The suspension will cost Jeffery a reported total of $3.4 million in lost salary.
Jeffery released a statement following the announcement of his suspension.
As a professional athlete, I have been careful about what I put in my boy. 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.
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 suspension means that the 2-7 Bears won't have their leading receiver for the next four weeks when they play the Giants, Titans, 49ers and Lions. Jeffery isn't allowed to return to practice until Dec. 12 and won't be eligible to play in a game until Dec. 18, when the Bears host the Packers.
With Jeffery out, there's a good chance that a bad Bears' offense is only going to get worse over the next four weeks. Jeffery leads the Bears with 630 receiving yards this year, which is 205 more than any other player on the team. The receiver also has 40 catches and one touchdown.
Even with Jeffery in the lineup, the Bears offense has been atrocious this season. Chicago is averaging just 15.7 points per game, which ranks 31st in the league, just ahead of the Rams. That's right, the Bears aren't even scoring more points than the 0-10 Browns.
The suspension comes at a fragile time for the both the Bears and Jeffery.
On the Bears' end, they're coming off a 36-10 loss to Tampa Bay that left the organization embarrassed. After the 26-point loss, several players called out Jay Cutler for his "truly embarrassing" game preparation. It's also been reported that Cutler has lost most of the locker room.
On Jeffery's end, the receiver is set to be a free agent at the end of the season, and it's not going to be easy to cash-in if he's coming off a down year. It's also not going to be easy to cash-in if other teams think you're a suspension risk.