The NFL has suspended Denver Broncos player Kareem Jackson for four games after it was determined that he had repeatedly engaged in unnecessary roughness, the most recent of which took place during the team’s victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 7.
Jackson was sent off the field during Sunday’s match for illegally hitting Packers tight end Luke Musgrave.
“If a player forcibly hits the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder,” it is a foul, according to NFL regulations.
During a play in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, Musgrave was judged to be “defenseless.” He had come down with the ball following a catch, but he had turned right into Jackson’s path, lowering his helmet and landing a hard blow.
Jackson was ejected from the game for the second time this season after hitting Washington Commanders tight end Logan Thomas in the end zone in Week 2. Following the collision, the Commanders verified that Thomas had sustained a concussion, which prevented him from participating in the game.
Before Sunday’s incident, the 35-year-old Jackson had been penalized a total of $89,670 by the league for four different roughness offenses.
Officially punishing Jackson for four games, the NFL released a statement. The league’s vice president of football operations, Jon Runyan, sent a letter to the Denver safety stating the suspension.
“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,” Runyan wrote. “You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to.”
Runyan added that Jackson’s ban was partly due to his prior transgressions, which included personal fouls this season in violation of player safety-related regulations.
Some have backed Jackson and think the four-game suspension is overly harsh, even though the officials have little patience for his conduct. One such person is former five-time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.
“This is starting to get out of hand! This is a clean hit and clearly he’s even trying to turn his body at the end to make sure it’s a shoulder hit,” Sherman posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“The body is led by your head so no matter what it will appear he’s leading with his head but STOP this narrative that these are somehow ‘dirty’ hits.”
Under the terms of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, Jackson may challenge the ban; but, should it be upheld, he would miss his team’s next four games against the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, and Kansas City Chiefs.