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Report: Erik Walden Suspended One Game by NFL

According to reports, the NFL has suspended Colts OLB Erik Walden one game for his headbutt of Titans TE Delanie Walker.

Jeff Zelevansky

Some people tried to (stupidly) say it was a good move that motivated the Colts and helped the team out.  Well, according to various media reports, we know that at least the latter part most definitely isn't true.

Colts outside linebacker Erik Walden has reportedly been suspended one game by the NFL for headbutting Titans' tight end Delanie Walker during Thursday night's game between the two AFC South opponents.  That means that Walden will miss this Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

This according to Jay Glazer, who once again breaks some news:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>The NFL is suspending LB Erik Walden one game for his head butt Thursday night of Delanie Walker</p>&mdash; Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) <a href="">November 18, 2013</a></blockquote>

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Erik Walden will have the chance to appeal the suspension, but honestly, he's just lucky this wasn't longer - because it very well could have been.  The officials clearly mishandled the call during the game, hitting Walden with only a 15-yard personal foul penalty when he should have been ejected from the game.

As I wrote on Friday, the NFL had to suspend Walden if they wanted to continue to maintain their emphasis on player safety.  Grabbing a guy by the face mask, ripping his helmet off, and then headbutting him (while you still had your helmet on) - especially after the play (though it would be unacceptable at any time) is completely uncalled for and deserving of a suspension.

It should be noted that as of Chuck Pagano's press conference at 1:30 p.m. eastern time, he still had yet to hear from the league regarding a possible suspension for Walden.  But various media outlets are reporting the news and so it seems likely that it is indeed the case, although we want to counter that a little by adding in that the last we heard from Pagano, he hadn't heard from the league yet.

A Walden suspension would likely mean that rookie Bjoern Werner would step into the starting role.  The first round draft pick has struggled this year and also missed significant time due to an injury.  Werner is improving but at this point is a step down from Walden.  The hope will have to be that Werner can provide some pressure on Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and that he can handle the role of an every down linebacker.  Another option and a guy who likely will see increased playing time with a Walden suspension is Cam Johnson.

The moral of the story here is that stupid actions will be punished by the NFL, and rightfully so.  There's not really any room to complain here for anybody, be it Colts fans or Walden.  Walden should just be happy it wasn't worse - an ejection as well, a longer suspension, or even being released by the Colts.