Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson was suspended four games by the NFL on Monday for repeated violations of league rules meant to protect players, including a fumble-forcing hit in a Sunday victory. Jackson slammed the top of his helmet into the chest and face mask of Minnesota quarterback Josh Dobbs only 82 seconds into the first quarter, knocking loose a fumble that led to a Denver field goal in a 21-20 home triumph.
Jon Runyan, the NFL vice president of football operations, issued the ban for a violation when “a player lowers his head and makes forcible contact with his helmet against an opponent.” The Broncos, 5-5 and one game out of an AFC playoff spot, will be without Jackson for games against Cleveland, Houston, the Los Angeles Chargers and Detroit. He can return ahead of a December 24 game against New England.
In a letter to Jackson, Runyan called his hit on Dobbs “a serious violation of the playing rules.” “You had an unobstructed path to your opponent and the illegal contact could have been avoided,” Runyan added. “Illegal acts that are flagrant and jeopardize the safety of players will not be tolerated. “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,’ Runyan told Jackson. “You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to.”
Jackson, who can appeal the ban to arbitration, has made similar decisions before. Jackson was handed a four-game ban after a 19-17 victory last month over Green Bay for violations of unnecessary roughness rules.
But that ban was reduced to two games by hearing officer Derrick Brooks on appeal — a decision that allowed Jackson to return against the Vikings. Jackson also was thrown out of Denver’s 35-33 loss at Washington on September 17 and later fined for a flagrant hit. Jackson, 35, was the 20th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by Houston and spent nine seasons with the Texans before joining Denver in 2019.