Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson has been suspended for four games without pay by the NFL.
The suspension followed Jackson’s hit on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs in Sunday’s game (19). It was during the first possession of Denver’s 21-20 win that Jackson lowered his helmet and hit Dobbs in the facemask. The blow helped move the ball, which resulted in a forced turnover for the Broncos, who converted the fumble into a field goal.
Officials didn’t flag Jackson for the illegal hit. The NFL announced the suspension this Monday (20), and cited “repeated violations of playing rules intended to protect the health and safety of players”. This is the second suspension of the season for Jackson for repeated illegal hits to opponents’ heads.
The suspension was announced alongside a letter to Jackson, from the vice president of football operations Jon Runyan. “With 13:38 remaining in the first quarter, you were involved in a play that the league considers a serious violation of the playing rules. The video of the play shows that you lowered your head and made forcible contact to Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs. You had an unobstructed path to your opponent and the illegal contact could have been avoided”, wrote Runyan.
“Illegal acts that are flagrant and jeopardize the safety of players will not be tolerated. The league will continue to stress enforcement of the rules that prohibit using your helmet to make forcible contact with your opponent. On the play in question, you lowered your head and delivered a forceful blow to the shoulder and head/neck area of an opponent when you had time and space to avoid such contact. You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to”, he finished.
Jackson had already been suspended for four games back in October, following his second ejection of the season in a win over the Green Bay Packers. The suspension was reduced to two games upon appeal. Sunday’s game was Jackson’s first game back, and he committed the illegal hit three snaps into his return.