Erik Walden reportedly draws 1-game suspension for headbutt of Delanie Walker
Erik Walden will be suspended one game by the NFL for his headbutt of the Titans’ Delanie Walker last Thursday, FOXSports’ Jay Glazer reported.
Walker was blocking Walden on a run play in the second quarter when Walden ripped off and threw Walker’s helmet. The two then exchanged words before Walden headbutted Walker in the chin. Walker’s response — a slap to Walden’s helmet — did not draw a flag.
“It was a selfish act,” Walden told ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky after the Colts’ win. “It could have cost my team bigger than it did. I lost my composure. It something that can’t happen. It wasn’t really something he did, it was ticky-tack. I can’t allow myself to take it that far.”
Since the penalty on Walden occurred at Indianapolis’ 25, it marched off half the distance to the goal. Tennessee wound up settling for a field goal on that drive, despite the ensuing first down at the 13.
Walden now will be out of the lineup for Indianapolis’ Week 12 trip to Arizona, where the Cardinals have won three straight to jump into the playoff race. The Colts’ win at Tennessee provided them ample wiggle room in the division — they lead the second-place Titans by three games — but they still have their sights set on a first-round bye. Currently, New England holds the second spot in the conference.
Walden’s absence figures to push rookie Bjoern Werner into a larger role at linebacker. Werner has yet to make a start this season, and he missed several weeks with a foot injury.
There is a possibility that Walden could appeal the punishment, in hopes of having the suspension reduced to a fine. If not, he would become the third player to miss a game for a suspension brought on by in-game actions. The Texans’ Antonio Smith missed Week 1 after ripping off Richie Incognito’s helmet and striking him with it in a preseason game; Washington’s Brandon Meriweather sat out one game (reduced from an original two-game penalty) after a pair of personal fouls vs. the Bears.
The Buccaneers’ Dashon Goldson did have a one-game suspension overturned early in the season. Instead, he was tagged with a $100k fine for a high hit on Darren Sproles.