DENVER (AP) — There's a good chance 14th-year running back Kareem Jackson will be protected on Christmas Day after the Denver Broncos returned from his second suspension without activating him for their game against New England on Sunday night. decided to.
The Broncos' roster exemption on Jackson expires on Monday, so they will either have to make room for him by bidding farewell to another player or release the 14-year veteran.
If that happens, it doesn't mean it's the end of the road for Jackson in Denver. The Broncos could try to re-sign him to their practice squad and then promote him for their final two games and any playoff games if they qualify.
But a release would certainly open the possibility that Denver's defensive tone-setter may have played his last game in navy and orange, if not in the NFL altogether.
PJ Locke has played exceptionally well in Jackson's absence and he became the first safety in franchise history to sack a quarterback in three consecutive games during Jackson's latest suspension for an illegal high hit on Minnesota's Joshua Dobbs.
"You don't know how the opportunity may come, but if you get it, you've got to take advantage of it, and he did that," Jackson said during an interview at his locker Thursday. “I would be disappointed in PJ if he didn't take advantage of his opportunity.”
Jackson, who does not play on Denver's special teams, has now missed seven of Denver's last eight games, and in the one game he played in that span, he was fined a violation of the league's unnecessary roughness rules on his very first tackle. Had done.
He hit Dobbs high during a play in which the Vikings QB was lined up by a running back and thrown by tight end Luke Hockenson after a toss sweep. Although no flag was thrown, the league suspended him again the next day, and this time, the four-game punishment was upheld on appeal.
Jackson has surrendered $837,000 in lost wages along with an $89,670 fine for unsportsmanlike hits this season, though he said his $43,709 fine for an unflagged hit on Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco in Week 6 Was canceled by the league.
As a converted cornerback, Jackson's 5-foot-10, 183-pound frame makes him undersized for an NFL safety, which he compensated for with his hard-hitting style.
Jackson was allowed to meet the audience Commissioner Roger Goodell Last month he asked for advice on how to stop violating the league's unnecessarily rough rules, under which hits that were once celebrated are now scorned.
However, Jackson said that he came away from that meeting only more questions Because, he said, he was told it was his responsibility to keep his opponents safe.
"The rules, I don't understand," Jackson said. "Obviously, now (I'll) try to play within them as much as I can. I'll be there physically, but at the end of the day they want to see points. I can't figure out how to play the game, the offensive guy. How to save, how to save myself and how to make a game.”
Copyright 2023 The associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.