Broncos safety Kareem Jackson has been suspended four games without pay by the NFL for the league’s first quarterback hit by Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs.
Jackson is expected to appeal the ban. The appeal will come before a hearing officer appointed jointly by the NFL and the NFLPA.
It was the second suspension of the season for Jackson, a 14-year veteran who entered the league as a first-round pick with the Texans in 2010. He was previously suspended for four games for an illegal assault against the Green Bay Packers. Tight end Luke Musgrave was suspended in Week 7, but his suspension was reduced to two games on appeal.
With both suspensions, Jackson’s recent history of illegal strikes worked against him. He was flagged for a hit to the head on Las Vegas wide receiver Jacoby Meyers in Week 1, and Meyers was concussed. In Week 2, Jackson was ejected for a concussion after an illegal tackle on Washington Chiefs tight end Logan Thomas.
Jackson was fined nearly $90,000 and forfeited $279,000 in wages for his previous two-game suspension.
In a letter to Jackson on Monday, NFL vice president of football operations John Runyon said, “Illegal actions that endanger the integrity and safety of players will not be tolerated.” “Video of the game shows you head down and force contact with Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs. You had an unobstructed path to your opponent and the illegal connection could have been avoided.
Three days before Sunday’s game against the Vikings, in the Broncos’ 21-20 win, Jackson said it was unclear what the illegal hit was. He said he had several phone calls with Runyon that did not provide clarity.
“I’m not sure how I’m going to play the game going forward,” Jackson said. Because like I said, I’m still in those situations two to three times every week. So for me, try to lower my target and not reach the same situation.
The suspension is a big blow to the Broncos, who already lost safety Kaden Stearns to a season-ending injury and are also playing without veteran PJ Locke due to an ankle injury.
Denver has won four straight to move to 5-5 and will host the Cleveland Browns (7-3) on Sunday.
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(Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)