NFL likely to suspend Erik Walden for headbutt to helmetless player

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The NFL will conclude its official review of a head-butting play involving Colts linebacker Erik Walden this Monday, but the incident, from Thursday night’s game, already has several league officials believing a suspension is warranted, sources said.

“See Antonio Smith (Houston) play from the preseason as relevant,” said one league source, a reference to a play in a preseason game in which the Texans defensive end yanked off the helmet of Richie Incognito and tossed it, earning a suspension for two preseason games plus the season opener.

Walden ripped the helmet off Titans tight end Delanie Walker on Thursday night and then struck him with a headbutt while still wearing his helmet. It's an action that on initial review in the past few days has struck NFL officials as egregious and worthy of a suspension.

No official discipline will be handed down on the matter until Monday -- when players are usually notified of suspensions -- and Walden could always appeal as well. Earlier this season Bucs safety Dashon Goldson had his suspension lessened to a $100,000 fine, for instance, and Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather had a two-game suspension reduced to one game by the arbitrator, who are hired jointly by the NFL and NFLPA and operate independent of the league office in that regard.

CBS Sports Insider

Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday... Full Bio

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