The NFL has suspended Buccaneers free safety Dashon Goldson for one game for violating its rules “prohibiting hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players,” the league said Monday.
Goldson was penalized in Sunday’s loss to New Orleans for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints running back Darren Sproles.
Goldson, who’s in his first season with Tampa Bay, will miss Sunday’s game at New England if the suspension is upheld. According to the NFL, Goldson has drawn five unnecessary roughness penalties since 2011.
Goldson can appeal the suspension within three business days, according to the league.
The hit on Sproles, the league indicated in its statement, was a “flagrant and repeat violation” of its hitting policies.
In an excerpt of a letter from NFL V.P. of football operations Merton Hanks to Goldson released by the league, Hanks said that Goldson’s hit on Sproles was “illegal contact” that “clearly could have been avoided.”
Said Hanks: “You had an unobstructed path to your opponent. It is clear that you lowered your head and unnecessarily rammed the left side of your helmet into the left side of your opponent’s head. You delivered a forceful blow with your helmet and made no attempt whatsoever to wrap up your opponent or make a conventional tackle on the play.”
Goldson, who turns 29 this week, has made two Pro Bowls, both with the 49ers, for whom he played from 2007 through 2012.
Ahmad Black is listed as the Buccaneers’ reserve free safety on their depth chart.