The NFL has announced that Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson has been suspended without pay for four games due to repeated violations of player safety rules. This comes after Jackson’s first tackle since returning from a previous suspension. The hit, which occurred during the Broncos’ recent victory over the Minnesota Vikings, involved Jackson lowering his helmet and delivering a forceful blow to the shoulder and head/neck area of Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs.
NFL vice president of football operations, Jon Runyan, issued a letter to Jackson notifying him of his suspension. Runyan stated that Jackson had the time and space to avoid the contact but chose not to. Despite not being penalized on the play, Jackson plans to appeal the suspension. If upheld, he would forfeit a significant amount of his salary.
This is not the first time Jackson has faced disciplinary action this season. He has already been fined four times for unnecessary roughness, accumulating a total of $89,670 in fines. He has also been ejected from two games. Furthermore, Jackson was suspended for four games earlier in the season after a hit on Green Bay Packers tight end Luke Musgrave. His appeal reduced the suspension to two games, resulting in the player missing two matchups and forfeiting $279,000 of his base salary.
Following the game, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell expressed his belief that Jackson should have been penalized for the hit. However, he acknowledged that decisions on the field happen quickly and that officials may have seen the play differently. Broncos coach Sean Payton, who spoke to Jackson prior to the suspension announcement, maintained that the team would have to wait and see how the situation unfolded.
Despite being the recipient of the hit, Joshua Dobbs stated that he felt fine following the incident. He deferred to his coach’s judgment on whether Jackson should have been penalized. Dobbs emphasized the importance of taking care of the football in critical situations, rather than focusing on the officiating.
The Broncos are currently on a four-game winning streak and will face the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans in the coming weeks. These matchups will be significant for both teams’ playoff aspirations. Following these games, the Broncos will play the Los Angeles Chargers and the Detroit Lions. It remains to be seen how Jackson’s absence will impact the team’s defense.
Jackson revealed last week that he had reached out to league officials to seek “clarity” on tackling, particularly regarding the plays for which he had been penalized. His teammates, particularly safety Justin Simmons, have been vocal in their support of him. Simmons has defended Jackson against claims of being a dirty player, emphasizing the knowledge and influence the veteran safety has had on his development.
Kareem Jackson’s suspension for repeated violations of player safety rules is a significant blow to the Denver Broncos’ defense. The team will have to adjust their strategy and find ways to compensate for his absence in the upcoming games. Jackson’s history of fines and ejections has raised questions about his playing style, but his teammates have come to his defense. The outcome of Jackson’s appeal and the impact of his suspension will undoubtedly be closely watched by both Broncos fans and the NFL community as a whole.