clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Former Bear Jerrell Freeman retires from the NFL

The linebacker calls it quits after six seasons to focus on his health.

Cleveland Browns v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Ever since tweeting about the health issues he was dealing with on top of his eventual release from the Bears earlier this off-season, the writing was on the wall. Jerrell Freeman retired from the NFL today, per a personal statement from Freeman himself.

Freeman, 32, had been with the Bears for two seasons before injuries and multiple suspensions eventually derailed his career in Chicago. After signing as a free agent in 2016, he never quite lived up to the expectations originally set upon him next to Danny Trevathan and in the Bears’ defense.

Freeman was once a Division III athlete out of Mary Hardin-Baylor that went undrafted in 2008. After unsuccessfully attempting to catch on with the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad, he moved on to Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the next three years. His patience and hard work was finally rewarded when the Colts signed him to a contract in 2011. That perseverance paid off with a six-year career where he amassed 415 tackles, 12 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and four interceptions.

For a man that was once completely overlooked by every NFL team, that is remarkable production. As someone that was a quiet leader in every locker room he stepped in, that reflects well on Freeman.

With his family and health as the primary stated focus, Freeman moves on from football to take care of his top priorities. The journey with the NFL and playing a dangerous game professionally ends now, but the rest of Freeman’s life that he has to take care of is still on the horizon.

Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.