Patriots' Branch, Bears' Freeman issued four-game bans (AFP)

New England Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch and Chicago Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman were each issued four-game suspensions Monday by the NFL involving substances banned by league policy. Branch was handed a four-game ban for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, according to a posting on the NFL website, but will appeal the punishment, keeping him eligible to play Sunday at the New York Jets. Freeman was hit with a four-game ban for a violation of the NFL performance-enhancing substances policy, an immediate suspension that will sideline the 30-year-old defender for games against Tennessee, San Francisco, Detroit and Green Bay.