Former Rider Jerrell Freeman was facing two-year drug suspension when he retired

Former Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Jerrell Freeman was facing a two-year suspension for a third failed drug test when he retired from the NFL earlier this month.

The NFL suspended him late last week, less than two weeks after he announced he was stepping away from the game.

Last October, Freeman received a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. He was also suspended in 2016.

The 31-year-old spent three seasons in Saskatchewan (2009-2011) and earned CFL all-star status in 2011 after leading the league in tackles with 105. That got him a contract with the Indianapolis Colts where he played four years and then moved on to the Chicago Bears.

Freeman played one game in 2017 then spent the rest of the season on the Bears injured reserve list with a concussion and pectoral injury during the 2017 season. Over six NFL seasons, Freeman has made 598 tackles, defended 20 passes, made 12 sacks and four interceptions while scoring two defensive touchdowns.