Broncos safety Kareem Jackson has been suspended by the NFL for four games without pay after the league ruled his first-quarter hit on Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs was “a serious violation of the playing rules.”
Jackson is expected to appeal the suspension. The appeal will come in front of a hearing officer jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFLPA.
This is the second suspension of the season for Jackson, the 14-year veteran who entered the league as a first-round pick with the Texans in 2010. He was originally suspended for four games as a result of an illegal hit on Green Bay Packers tight end Luke Musgrave in Week 7, but the penalty was reduced to two games upon appeal.
In the case of both suspensions, Jackson’s recent history of illegal hits worked against him. He was flagged for a head-to-head hit on Las Vegas wide receiver Jakobi Meyers in Week 1, and Meyers exited with a concussion. In Week 2, Jackson was ejected following an illegal hit to the head of Washington Commanders tight end Logan Thomas, who was also knocked out of the game with a concussion.
Jackson has already been assessed nearly $90,000 in fines and lost $279,000 in wages during his previous two-game suspension.
“Illegal acts that are flagrant and jeopardize the safety of players will not be tolerated,” NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyon wrote in a letter to Jackson on Monday. “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.”
Three days before Sunday’s game against the Vikings, a 21-20 win by the Broncos, Jackson admitted he wasn’t clear on what constituted an illegal hit. He said he had multiple phone calls with Runyon that didn’t provide clarity.
“I’m unsure as to how I play the game going forward,” Jackson said. “Because like I said, I’m still going to be in those situations two to three times every week. So, for me, just try to lower my target and don’t end up in the same situation.”
The suspension is a significant blow to the Broncos, who have already lost safety Caden Sterns to a season-ending injury and are also playing without veteran P.J. Locke due to an ankle injury.
Denver has won four straight games to move to 5-5 and will host the Cleveland Browns (7-3) on Sunday.
(Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)