Alshon Jeffery Cheated, Don’t Make Excuses for Him

Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Alshon Jeffery doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, he cheated and let his team down.

When reports came down Monday that Alshon Jeffery had been suspended four games for PED use my jaw dropped open.

Alshon Jeffery? This is the same Alshon Jeffery that plays on my Chicago Bears? I couldn’t believe it. I sat there in disbelief thinking of all the players on the Bears’ roster, Jeffery would be the last guy I would think would take a short cut like this and violate the rules.

I went back and forth all week- should I really write what’s on my mind or should I let this one pass?

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Plenty of Chicago media came to his defense and said that if you know Alshon Jeffery, you know this was an accident. I would like to think this is true, but let’s be honest, there is zero reason to believe that’s the case.

Jeffery is a great guy, he’s a spiritual man, an upstanding citizen, and has never given any indication that he is anything but those things. But good people make poor decisions and this is exactly what this is.

Jeffery is looking for his payday. In the NFL, most players only get one chance and this is Jeffery’s opportunity. One of the main reasons the Bears chose to give Jeffery the franchise tag rather than extend his contract is their fear that he couldn’t stay healthy. No team wants to pay a large sum of money to a player to have them watch from the sidelines. The Bears needed Jeffery to prove he could stay on the field. Jeffery knew this. He looked for an edge. He found one, and he hoped he wouldn’t get caught.

Make no mistake about it, Alshon Jeffery cheated. The media and his teammates need to stop making excuses for him. Jeffery made a selfish decision and it cost his team. Sure the Bears season is in the tank so losing Jeffery for four games really doesn’t impact the outcome of the season, but this decision was about Alshon and only about Alshon. He put himself ahead of his teammates.

Jeffery released a statement via his Twitter:

In Jeffery’s statement he says he takes full responsibility for his actions, but does he? His second sentence says he took a “recommended supplement.” Stop right there. Already it’s clear that Jeffery does not take full responsibility for his actions because he starts off blaming someone else.

These professional athletes treat their bodies like temples. They know exactly what they are putting in their systems. The locker room is plastered with notices about meats that may contain steroids and what products that were once allowed are no longer.

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears /

Chicago Bears

Jeffery knew exactly what he was doing. He was trying to help himself earn a payday and he went about it the wrong way. He didn’t take full responsibility and professional athletes have lost the benefit of the doubt with PED suspensions. All of them took tainted supplements or someone gave it to them. None of them cheated if you ask them. They are all boy scouts. Bull Honkey.

Jeffery cheated. He knows he cheated. His teammates know he cheated. Even the media knows he cheated. That doesn’t mean fans should stop cheering for him or boo him off the field. But he needs to be recognized for what he is and what he did.

Jeffery may be a good person that used poor judgement. But on the football field, he’s an injury-prone player who is willing to take shortcuts if it benefits him. That is certainly not the type of player Ryan Pace is going to want to invest in. That doesn’t mean Jeffery will certainly walk after this season. The Bears could double down on the franchise tag and do it to him again (almost guaranteeing he won’t re-sign after 2017) this offseason, or they can offer him a shorter multi year deal with a lower total value and guaranteed money. With Jeffery’s history and now PED suspension, it will be curious to see what type of contract he can land on the open market. Jeffery may not know his value either, so he may take a smaller deal, but with a much better value than another franchise tag.

Bears fans probably feel a range of emotions about Jeffery’s suspensions from anger to disappointment. But don’t feel sorry for Jeffery. He brought this on himself. Alshon Jeffery may be a good person off the field, but he’s a cheater on it. Nobody should forget that.