Bears LB Jerrell Freeman announces retirement

Free-agent inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman officially called it a career after six seasons in the NFL.

Freeman, who the Bears released in February, announced his retirement Wednesday afternoon on Twitter, citing his "health and family" as top priorities.

The 6-foot, 235-pound Freeman entered the league in 2008 as an undrafted free agent out of Mary Haydin-Baylor with the Titans but was released before the start of the regular season.

Freeman then signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL where he spent three seasons (2009-11).

The Colts under then-general manager Ryan Grigson gave Freeman his shot at the NFL after signing the linebacker to a contract in January 2012.

Freeman became the first player from Mary Haydin-Baylor to play in an NFL game and burst onto the scene during his first NFL regular season, totaling 145 tackles (90 solo), two sacks, an interception, two passes defensed and a forced fumble.

After four seasons with the Colts (2012-15), Freeman joined Chicago on a three-year, $12 million deal.

Freeman enjoyed success in his first 12 games in a Bears uniform, tallying 110 tackles (86 solo). But Freeman was suspended the final four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The 2017 season didn't produce a comeback tour for the linebacker.

Freeman landed on injured reserve with a concussion and pectoral injury suffered in the regular-season opener against the Falcons. In October, he was suspended 10 games for another violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

For his NFL career, the 32-year-old Freeman appeared in 70 games -- all starts -- and totaled 598 tackles (390 solo), 12 sacks, four interceptions, 20 passes defensed and eight forced fumbles.