Jeff LegwoldESPN Senior Writer5 minute read
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson has been suspended without pay for four games for repeated violations of player safety rules, the result of his first tackle since returning from another suspension.
Jackson lowered his helmet and hit Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs less than two minutes into the Broncos’ 21-20 victory Sunday.
A 14-year veteran in his fifth season with the Broncos, Jackson was informed of his suspension Monday morning by NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan. Runyan said in the letter: “During the play in question, you lowered your head and delivered a powerful blow to the shoulder and head/neck of an opponent when you had time and space to avoid such contact. You could have made contact with your opponent legally, but you chose not to do so.
Dobbs was a running back on the play, as Vikings tight end TJ Hockenson took over from under center and threw the ball to Dobbs, who ended up fumbling.
One of the NFL’s health and safety observers on site ordered Dobbs to undergo a concussion check after the game. Dobbs was cleared and returned to the game for Minnesota’s next offensive series.
Jackson, who was not penalized for the play, plans to appeal the suspension, sources told ESPN Monday evening. He had a four-game suspension reduced to two games on appeal earlier this season.
Jackson would lose $559,889 in salary if the current four-game suspension stands. He was fined four times this season for unnecessary roughness totaling $89,670 and was ejected from two games.
He was suspended for four games after his hit on Green Bay Packers tight end Luke Musgrave in Week 7. After his appeal reduced the suspension to two games, he missed the Broncos’ victory in Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs as well as Team Week. 10 win against the Buffalo Bills and lost $279,000 of his base salary.
He returned against the Vikings, playing all 74 defensive snaps for the Broncos.
After the game, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell was asked if he felt Jackson should have been penalized for the play.
“On the field, it was like that,” O’Connell said. “I’ll have to go back and look at it. It tends to happen pretty quickly there, but in the moment, coming from the second level like he did, it looked like a pretty direct helmet-to-helmet type hit . “But I’m sure (the officials) saw things differently on the play. They’re officiating a quick play right there. “
Broncos coach Sean Payton said Monday morning, several hours before the NFL announced the suspension, that he had spoken to Jackson and added: “There’s nothing you can do but wait, and we’ll see where it leads. »
Dobbs said he “felt good” after the hit and deferred to O’Connell on whether Jackson should have been penalized.
“I didn’t get a chance to watch it,” Dobbs said after Sunday’s game. “That’s something I’m going to check on. I’ve got to take care of the football. Third-and-1, I’m trying to make a play, get the first down, keep us on the field, move the sticks. “I’ll let the coaches and everyone take care of it. But ultimately I have to take care of the football in this situation, especially to start the game.”
The Broncos are riding a four-game winning streak and will face two other teams hoping to stay in the playoff race – the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans – over the next two weeks. The Broncos will next play the Los Angeles Chargers on December 10 at SoFi Stadium and the Detroit Lions on December 16 or 17.
Jackson said last week he spoke to league officials to get “clarity” on the tackles, including the plays he was penalized for. After his earlier suspension, Jackson’s teammates were quick to defend him, particularly safety Justin Simmons, who objected. to the league’s letter to Jackson last month informing him of the suspension as well as the narrative that Jackson is a dirty player based on the fines and expulsions.
“Even referencing the letter that was sent to Kareem that, in so many words, called him a dirty player, that bothers me as a teammate,” Simmons said at the time. “I wouldn’t be half the player I am if it wasn’t for Kareem, if it wasn’t for the knowledge he passed on to me, on and off the field.
“The whole ‘dirty player’ analogy, we’re kind of trying to stick to his name and his reputation is, excuse my language, absolute bulls—.”
Simmons defended Jackson again on social media Monday evening after the suspension was announced.
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert contributed to this report.
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