Los Angeles Chargers star safety Derwin James Jr. is unlikely to face suspension following a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Ashton Dulin during the Chargers’ 20–3 victory on Monday Night Football.
James, a three-time Pro Bowler, will not miss any time, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports, even though the league agreed on the personal foul call of unnecessary roughness.
James may still be fined by the league, however.
The incident happened in the second quarter of the game. Colts quarterback Nick Foles made contact with Dulin, who was struck hard in the head and neck area by James with 5:23 remaining in the game.
A concussion ruled Dulin out of the game after the hit and penalty. Meanwhile, James had to be disqualified from the game. Chargers football coach Brandon Staley defended James after Monday’s game, saying the hit on Dulin was the result of the offense’s play.
“It’s a play where they obviously laid the guy out in a tough position, which is their fault, not ours, and Derwin [James] made an aggressive play,” Staley said to the Indianapolis Star’s Joel A. Erickson.
“I’ve seen him make a lot of tackles on plays just like that, and I know that his target was not above the neck. I know that.”
After the hit in the second quarter, Dulin left the field and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Staley also said that James was also placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol. However, he was “having a heck of a time” in the locker room after Los Angeles won 20-3 to clinch a playoff spot.
James has tallied 109 tackles, two forced fumbles, four sacks and two interceptions this season. Los Angeles (9–6) qualified for the playoffs with their win over Indianapolis and will play the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at home. Following that, the team will play on the road against the Denver Broncos in the regular season finale on January 8.
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