Update: The NFL announces that it has suspended Kareem Jackson four games for his hit on Joshua Dobbs.
Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson could reportedly be headed for his second suspension of the 2023 NFL season for an illegal hit that violated the league’s unnecessary roughness rules.
In his first game back from a two-game suspension served for repeated violations of illegal hits, Jackson wasted little time returning to his old ways. On 3rd-and-1 for the Minnesota Vikings, quarterback Joshua Dobbs ran toward the first-down marker. As he neared the first-down line with one Broncos’ defender beginning to pull the football out, Jackson lowered his head and launched himself into the bottom half of Dobbs’ facemask.
- Kareem Jackson stats (career): 110 pass deflections, 22 interceptions, 3 pick-sixes, 3 sacks, 30 tackles for loss in 201 career games
The Broncos recovered Dobbs’ fumble and turned it into three points, which proved crucial in a 21-20 victory. While Jackson wasn’t flagged for the hit during the game, it is a violation of the NFL’s contact rules and he could face significant discipline from the league office in the coming days.
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As noted by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the hit by Jackson is the type of forcible blow that the command center in New York would typically eject a player for. Because no flag was thrown during Sunday’s game, the league office couldn’t intervene until after,
As a result of the hit, Jackson could face a lengthy suspension from the NFL. He was originally suspended four games in October without pay for repeated violations of the NFL’s unnecessary roughness rules. At the time, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan was very critical of Jackson’s disregard for player safety.
- Kareem Jackson contract: $2.515 million salary in 2023, $79.35 million in career earnings (Spotrac)
“On the play in question, you delivered a forceful blow to the head/neck area of a defenseless receiver, when you had the time and space to avoid such contact. You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to.”NFL VP of Football Operations Jon Runyan in a letter to Denver Broncos’ Kareem Jackson for his October suspension
However, the NFL reduced his suspension a few days later and Jackson only missed two games. The 35-year-old safety returned from his suspension this past week against the Minnesota Vikings, a game he wouldn’t have been permitted to play in if not for his suepsnion being cut in half.
The suspension did nothing to change Jackson’s style of play. After being fined $90,000 total in the first two months of the season for lowering his head and launching himself at a player, Jackson did it again on Sunday Night Football. While he previously claimed he would try and change his style of play, he returned to his old ways just a few plays into his return.
“I’m unsure as to how I play the game going forward. 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.”Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson on his number of unnecessary roughness penalties, fines (H/T FOX)
Already 35 years old and likely now facing a second suspension, it’s possible the NFL could make an example out of Jackson with an even longer suspension than he received the first time. If that happens and the appeals process doesn’t go his way, it’s possible age and changing NFL rules make Sunday night one of the last times we see Jackson on an NFL field.