Kareem Jackson is back on the sideline — again.
The NFL announced Monday it was suspending Jackson four games for his hit on Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs in the first quarter of Sunday night’s Broncos win at Empower Field.
It is the 35-year-old veteran’s second suspension this season, with the first coming following a hit on Green Bay tight end Luke Musgrave on Oct. 22 that resulted in Jackson’s immediate ejection. The Broncos safety appealed that suspension, which was shortened to two games, and returned to the field Sunday only to find himself back in the spotlight three plays into his first game back.
On the play, Jackson lowered his helmet and delivered a hit on Dobbs while outside linebacker Baron Browning forced the fumble. Broncos cornerback Ja’Quan McMillian recovered the ball, and no flags were thrown.
In a letter sent to Jackson following the league’s review, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan called Jackson’s latest hit “a serious violation of the playing rules.”
“You had an unobstructed path to your opponent and the illegal contact could have been avoided,” the letter read.
Dobbs was evaluated in the medical tent but returned on Minnesota’s next possession. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters postgame that he thought Jackson should have been penalized.
“In the moment and coming from the second level the way (Jackson) did, it seemed like a pretty direct helmet-to-helmet type hit,” O’Connell said. “I’m sure (the referees) saw it differently. It happened fast out there, but we have to look at it.”
Jackson could appeal the league’s suspension. But if it remains at four games, Jackson will not be eligible to play until Denver’s home matchup against the New England Patriots on Dec. 24.
Jackson’s recent two-game suspension cost him $279,444. His latest punishment would result in a $558,888 loss if it’s upheld. That would put Jackson’s total for the year at more than $925,000 in fines or 36% of his total pay. Jackson’s base salary this season is $2,515,000.
Broncos head coach Sean Payton spoke with reporters Monday before the league announced its ruling, but did not offer an opinion on whether or not the hit was worthy of league intervention.
The suspension doesn’t come at the best time. Safety P.J. Locke is dealing with an ankle injury that kept him out of the Broncos’ fourth-straight win. Payton said Locke is rehabbing but did not say whether he would play on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
“We’ll probably have a better idea later in the week,” Payton added.
— Thompson-Robinson to start against Denver: Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters that rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson will start against the Broncos next Sunday. Thompson-Robinson made his second career start in Cleveland’s 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, throwing for 165 yards and an interception.
The former UCLA standout took over the starting job after Cleveland announced quarterback Deshaun Watson would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a broken bone in his throwing shoulder.
Broncos beat reporter Parker Gabriel contributed to this report.
©2023 MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit at denverpost.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.