Broncos safety Kareem Jackson was ejected from Denver's 19-17 win over the Green Bay Packers for an illegal hit on Packers rookie tight end Luke Musgrave. Initially, the NFL suspended him for four games without pay. However, on Tuesday hearing officer Derrick Brooks, who was jointly appointed by both the NFL and NFLPA, reduced the number of games from four to two as Jackson won his appeal.
As a result, he will be eligible to return to Denver's roster on Tuesday, Nov. 14 for its Week 11 game against the Vikings. The Broncos face the Chiefs next Sunday in Week 8 and then will be on the bye in Week 9.
NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan issued the suspension for violations of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9 (b)(1) which states that "it is a foul if a player forcibly hits the defenseless player's head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, even if the initial contact is lower than the player's neck, and regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him," per the league's statement.
The latest of those plays occurred with just under 14 minutes to play in regulation on Sunday after Musgrave caught an 18-yard pass from Jordan Love. Linebacker Alex Singleton was chasing after Musgrave after the catch and that's when Jackson barreled in -- seemingly leading with the crown of his helmet -- and knocked Musgrave to the ground. After officials discussed the play after throwing a couple of flags, they decided to eject Jackson on top of enforcing the 15-yard penalty.
Jackson has been in the crosshairs of the officials regarding unnecessary roughness penalties numerous times this season. He has previously been fined four times this season for the infraction, totaling $89,670. He also was ejected back in Week 2 for a hit on Commanders tight end Logan Thomas.
After the game, head coach Sean Payton said that Jackson's "priors" likely contributed to the ejection.
"I think it's difficult to make these calls sometimes," Payton said, via ESPN. "I think what's difficult for Kareem is he's got some priors. You get pulled over and you've had four or five speeding violations, you're going to spend a little bit more time on the side of the road than if you didn't have any. I wasn't real surprised [at the penalty and the ejection]."
Given that history, it will be interesting to see how the league deals with Jackson, whether it be in the form of another fine or possibly a suspension because he is a repeat offender.