NFL suspends Kareem Jackson for second time this season

Nov 20, 2023, 4:30 PM | Updated: 4:42 pm

Kareem Jackson has played eight games so far this season. And for the sixth time, the NFL came down on him with punishment.

Monday afternoon, the NFL issued a four-game suspension to Jackson for his first-quarter hit on Minnesota quarterback Josh Dobbs. The collision saw Jackson lower and lead with his helmet, colliding with the chest of Dobbs, who was attempting to run for a first down.

It came on the third play of the game — Jackson’s first contest back since serving his previous suspension.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote the following to Jackson in the letter informing the 14-year veteran safety of his suspension:

With 13:38 remaining in the first quarter, you were involved in a play that the League considers a serious violation of the playing rules. 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.

Illegal acts that are flagrant and jeopardize the safety of players will not be tolerated. The League will continue to​ stress enforcement of the rules that prohibit using your helmet to make forcible contact with your ​opponent. 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. You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to.​

Jackson would not be eligible to return until the Christmas Eve game against the New England Patriots.

Exacerbating the suspension is the status of safety P.J. Locke, who started in Jackson’s stead during his previous suspension. Locke injured his ankle in the second quarter of the Nov. 13 win at Buffalo. At the time of the injury, Denver was shutting out the Buffalo Bills. The Broncos allowed three touchdowns in their next seven defensive series after losing Locke and replacing him with Delarrin Turner-Yell.


While Kareem Jackson was happy to return to Centura Health Training Center last week after serving a two-game suspension, he expressed consternation with the answers — or lack thereof — given to him by league officials Jon Runyan and Derrick Brooks in conversations that took place as he contested the initial four-game suspension, which the league trimmed by half after the appeal.

“Not at all. Still looking for clarity on the rules,” Jackson said Nov. 16. “A lot of gray area when it comes to the rules that’s been put in place, in my opinion. Nothing’s black and white.

“I’ve had several conversations with Runyan, Derrick Brooks, and still hang up the phone with no answers.”

Runyan issued the Oct. 20 suspension, while Brooks — a Pro Football Hall of Famer — heard the appeal one day later.

“So, for me, I’m unsure as to how I play the game going forward, because like I said, I’m gonna be in those situations two to three times every week,” Jackson said last week. “For me, it’s just trying to lower my target and hopefully don’t end up in the same situation.”

Unfortunately for Jackson and the Broncos, he did. And while he will appeal the punishment, it seems far less likely that such an action will be successful this time, considering that Jackson ran afoul of league rules just three plays into his return to action.


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