The NFL has handed down a four-game suspension without pay to Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson following his hit on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs during Sunday night’s game. This marks Jackson’s second suspension of the season for repeated infractions related to illegal hits targeting opponents’ heads.
The league, in its announcement on Monday afternoon, cited “repeated violations of playing rules intended to protect the health and safety of players” as the basis for the suspension. This particular hit occurred early in the first quarter, where Jackson lowered his helmet and made forcible contact with Dobbs’ facemask, resulting in a fumble and subsequent turnover that favored the Broncos.
Despite the impactful hit, officials did not flag Jackson during the game. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Jackson plans to appeal the suspension.
The NFL, through a letter from Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan, emphasized the serious nature of Jackson’s actions. Runyan stated that the video evidence showed Jackson had an unobstructed path to Dobbs and could have avoided the illegal contact. The league is determined to enforce rules prohibiting the use of helmets for forcible contact and stressed that such flagrant acts jeopardizing player safety will not be tolerated.
This recent suspension comes on the heels of Jackson’s previous four-game suspension in October for illegal hits that led to his ejection in a game against the Green Bay Packers. The league later reduced this suspension to two games upon appeal. Jackson’s return to the field against the Vikings marked his first game back from the earlier suspension, and the illegal hit occurred just three snaps into his comeback.
Jackson’s history of infractions includes a hit on Green Bay tight end Luke Musgrave in Week 7, resulting in an ejection and subsequent suspension. He was also previously ejected for a Week 2 hit that concussed Washington Commanders tight end Logan Thomas. While fined for these incidents, the NFL did not suspend Jackson.
In total, Jackson has incurred fines totaling $89,670 this season for four illegal hits, underscoring the league’s commitment to player safety and its intolerance for actions that put players at risk.