ENGLEWOOD, COLORADO – Kareem Jackson of the Denver Broncos has been suspended without pay for four games for several infractions of player safety regulations, the consequence of his first tackle since returning from another suspension.
Less than two minutes into the Broncos' 21-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Jackson lowered his helmet and hit quarterback Joshua Dobbs.
Jackson, a 14-year veteran in his fifth season with the Broncos, was informed of his suspension by NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan on Monday morning. In the letter, Runyan stated, "on the play in question,
you lowered your head and delivered a forceful blow to an opponent's shoulder and head/neck area when you had time and space to avoid such contact." You had the option of making contact with your opponent within the rules, but you chose not to.''
Dobbs was a running back on the play, as Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson took the snap from center and pitched the ball to Dobbs, who ended up fumbling.
One of the NFL's health and safety spotters on site directed Dobbs to undergo a concussion check following the play. Dobbs was cleared and reentered the game for Minnesota's next offensive series.
Jackson, who was not penalized on the play, plans to appeal the suspension, sources told ESPN on Monday night. He had a four-game suspension reduced to two games on appeal earlier this season.
Jackson would forfeit $559,889 in salary if the current four-game suspension is upheld. He has been fined four times this season for unnecessary roughness for a total of $89,670 and has been ejected from two games.
He was suspended for four games for his Week 7 hit on Green Bay Packers tight end Luke Musgrave. He missed the Broncos' Week 8 win over the Kansas City Chiefs as well as the team's Week 10 win against the Buffalo Bills after his appeal reduced the punishment to two games, and he forfeited $279,000 of his basic salary.He returned against the Vikings, playing all 74 defensive snaps for the Broncos.
Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell was questioned after the game if he thought Jackson should have been punished on the play. "On the field, it felt like that," remarked O'Connell. "I'll have to look at it again." It happens pretty quickly out there, but coming from the second level the way he did, it appeared like a pretty straight helmet-to-helmet type contact at the time. But I'm sure the officials saw things differently on the field. They're calling 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 except wait, and we'll see where it goes.'' Dobbs said he "felt fine'' after the hit and deferred to O'Connell on whether Jackson should have been penalized.
"I haven't had a chance to watch it," Dobbs said after Sunday's game. "That's something I'll check out. 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 else figure that stuff out with officiating. But at the end of the day, I've got to take care of the football in that situation, especially to start the game.''
"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 night after the suspension was announced.