As the Houston Texans continue their playoff push, it appears they’ll be without a key contributor on their defense for the next three games.
On Tuesday, the NFL announced that it has suspended linebacker Denzel Perryman for multiple illegal hits during the 2023 season, including one on Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase this past Sunday. Perryman’s hit on Chase came with 4:07 remaining in the Texans’ 30-27 victory over the Bengals on a play in which the 2021 Pro Bowl selection was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
“You lowered your head and delivered a forcible blow to the shoulder and then the head/neck area of the receiver. You had unobstructed path to your opponent and the illegal contact could have been avoided,” NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in his letter to Perryman, according to ESPN.
Since first entering the NFL in 2015, Perryman has received six unnecessary roughness penalties, including one that came in Houston’s Week 2 loss to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this season.
“When players violate the rules intended to protect player safety on a repeated basis, and particularly when the violations carry with them a significant risk of injury to an opposing player, it is appropriate to impose substantially greater penalties,” Runyan wrote.
While the 30-year-old Miami (Fla.) product is slated to miss the Texans’ upcoming games against the Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos, he has the right to appeal the suspension. Such an appeal, which would be heard by one of the hearing officers jointly appointed by the league and the players’ association, either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, could potentially delay and/or shorten Perryman’s suspension.
Houston’s Week 12 game against the Jaguars is of particular interest, as the 5-4 Texans currently trail 6-3 Jacksonville by one game in the AFC South. Barring a significant shortening of Perryman’s suspension, however, it appears that Houston will be without its starting middle linebacker for the pivotal division matchup.