Broncos DB handed another four-game suspension for illegal hit

The NFL suspended Kareem Jackson again on Monday.

The league said the Denver Broncos’ safety has to sit out four games without pay after he hit Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs in their Sunday matchup in which the Broncos won their fourth straight game.

On third-and-1 during the Vikings’ first drive of the game, Minnesota ran a trick play where tight end T.J. Hockenson took the snap and then tossed it to Dobbs. Broncos linebacker Baron Browning started to tackle Dobbs from behind and Jackson ran up, lowered his helmet and hit the quarterback under his chin. Dobbs fumbled the ball on the play and his head twisted and bounced back from the impact. Jackson, a 14-year veteran, was not flagged for a penalty.

When a player lowers his helmet for a tackle, it is a violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 10 (a). In sharing the news of Jackson’s suspension, the league emphasized that the punishment is based on the safety’s decision-making in the moment.

‘Illegal acts that are flagrant and jeopardize the safety of players will not be tolerated,’ NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan said in a statement directed to Jackson. ‘The League will continue to stress enforcement of the rules that prohibit using your helmet to make forcible contact with your opponent. … You had time and space to avoid such contact. You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to.’

NFL STATS CENTRAL: The latest NFL scores, schedules, odds, stats and more.

Jackson will be eligible to return to the Broncos’ active roster after the Week 15 game against the Detroit Lions.

Jackson’s fellow Denver defensive back Justin Simmons responded to the suspension on social media where he defended his teammate and said the league uses an unfair standard in handing out punishments.

‘This is unbelievable. … On a 3rd and 1, where you’re fighting for every yard, how are we supposed to stop a runner from falling forward?’ he posted on X, formerly Twitter. ‘I had a hit similar to this last season vs. the Baltimore Ravens. No flag and no fine. There is no consistency in these calls and there is clearly motive and an agenda with certain players. Bunch of dirty players in our league. Kareem is not one of them.’

Houston Texans linebacker Denzel Perryman is currently serving a three-game suspension after leading with his helmet while tackling Cincinnati Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase in a Week 10 win.

This is the second time this season that the NFL suspended Jackson for violating its safety rules. After a Week 7 win against the Green Bay Packers, the league handed him a four-game suspension that was later reduced to two games after an appeal. The former Crimson Tide standout was also ejected from the Broncos’ Week 2 loss against the Washington Commanders and fined for an illegal hit.

He has been fined $89,670 for four illegal hits and said during practice ahead of the Vikings game that he was going to try to adjust his tackling technique. Jackson is third on the Denver defense with 51 combined tackles and has two interceptions so far this season.

“I’m unsure as to how I play the game going forward,’ he 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.”

This post appeared first on USA TODAY