DENVER — Kareem Jackson was ejected from a game for the second time this season in the Denver Broncos‘ victory against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, with coach Sean Payton saying that the safety’s “priors” might have influenced the call.
He has been fined four times this season for unnecessary roughness — for a total of $89,670 — and likely will face another fine and potentially a suspension given his status as a repeat offender.
“I think it’s difficult to make these calls sometimes,” Payton said. “… 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].”
Musgrave caught an 18-yard pass from Jordan Love and, as linebacker Alex Singleton closed in, Jackson arrived and knocked Musgrave to the turf. Two flags were immediately thrown. After a brief discussion among the officials, referee Alex Kemp announced that Jackson had been ejected in addition to the 15-yard penalty.
Some Broncos players said they believed Jackson had led with his shoulder and hit Musgrave slightly below the head and neck area. Green Bay players on the sideline near the hit shouted at Jackson after the play as Packers coaches quickly got between Jackson and the group.
“I haven’t seen a real clean shot of it,” Payton said. “We’ve just got to keep finding ways to keep the head out of the main part of the hit. And he’s smart; he’s someone who wants to do the right thing.”
Said Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II: “It’s tough. … From what I heard, it was a bang-bang play. Football is a physical game whether you like it or not. It’s just unfortunate. Kareem is a tremendous player. He doesn’t do things intentionally. … It would be a big blow, obviously, to lose a guy like Kareem.”
P.J. Locke, who had missed the first five games of the season with a lower leg injury, filled in for Jackson during Sunday’s game and would likely be his replacement if Jackson were to be suspended.
Locke, who has played 49 games for the Broncos over the past four seasons, intercepted Love with 1:40 left in the game to end Green Bay’s potential game-winning drive.
“He made a heck of a play not a lot of guys could make,” teammate Justin Simmons said of Locke. “… Our depth in the secondary is really strong. We tell guys all the time there can be no drop-off.”