Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has been suspended for 4 games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs:
While Jackson is currently in the league’s concussion protocol, he’s eligible to return if the Colts were to make the playoffs, as he’ll miss the final four games of the regular season.
Obviously, it’s a shocking development, as the 33 year old is not only the Colts leading tackler with 78 total tackles on the season, but he’s also one of the veteran leaders of the defense–being widely respected in the locker room:
There’s no question that the 11-year veteran has been much maligned in pass coverage by Colts fans; however, he’s actually been a solidifying presence otherwise given the uncertainty of the team’s other starting inside linebacker spot before young Edwin Jackson‘s recent emergence.
It’s now the second time in nearly almost as many weeks that an inside linebacker linked to the Colts has been suspended for performance-enhancing drugs, as former starter Jerrell Freeman–now with the Chicago Bears was also recently banned for four games following his own suspension.
Not to mention, it’s now the second current Colt to be suspended for performance-enhancing drugs, as veteran defensive lineman Art Jones was given four games to start the season.
In Jackson’s absence, it looks like either Josh McNary or rookie Antonio Morrison would assume the starting duties next to the younger Jackson. Both backup inside linebackers have struggled at times this season when thrusted into extended action.
It’s also worth noting that if his neck has fully healed, starting safety Clayton Geathers could also be utilized as a hybrid inside linebacker in the wake of Jackson’s suspension–giving the Colts more speed and coverage ability on the field.
The Colts will no doubt miss Jackson’s veteran presence in the starting lineup, as he often ensures that the younger linebackers are in their proper spots and has great familiarity with the Colts defense’s play-calling–almost like a quarterback on the other side of the field.