Former Vikings safety Jayron Kearse has officially been suspended for three games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. There had been speculation that he would face league discipline for his October 2019 arrest of driving while impaired and carrying a firearm without a permit.
This suspension is directly related to that incident, as Kearse clarified to one fan on Twitter:
Following the Vikings' Thursday Night Football victory over Washington, Kearse was arrested at around 4 a.m. that Sunday morning after he drove around a barricade onto the closed portion of Eastbound I-94 at Cedar Ave in Minneapolis. A police officer observed signs of impairment and later found a loaded handgun inside the vehicle. Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes was one of two passengers in the car with Kearse.
The next day, Kearse gave a public apology while speaking to the media.
"First and foremost I would like to apologize to the team, to the fans for my actions over this past weekend," Kearse said. "It's not a reflection of who I am as a person or what this organization stands for. The team and these fans deserve better. I definitely take this matter seriously and I'm sorry for putting anybody in harm's way, and I will go through all the necessary steps to improve myself."
Kearse was not suspended by the Vikings, but he was stripped of his status as a special teams captain. He played major roles for the Vikings in two November games not long after the incident, sealing a win over the Cowboys with his first career interception and breaking up multiple late passes against the Broncos a week later.
A seventh-round pick out of Clemson in 2016, Kearse played in 62 games with five starts during his four years in Minnesota. He was a key special teams player who also filled in admirably as a "big nickel" for the Vikings during a few games last year. Kearse made it known on Twitter earlier this offseason that he felt like the Vikings didn't want him back in free agency.
Kearse signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Detroit Lions in March. He'll miss their games against the Bears, Packers, and Cardinals to start the season. The Vikings and Lions are set to face off in Week 8 and Week 16.
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