Buccaneers' Dashon Goldson suspended one game after another illegal hit

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson was suspended for one game for flagrant and repeat violations of NFL safety rules prohibiting hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players.

Goldson was penalized for unnecessary roughness in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints for making direct, helmet-to-helmet contact with a defenseless receiver, Darren Sproles.

The suspension was imposed Monday by Merton Hanks, the NFL's vice president of football operations. Goldson can't practice this week nor play Sunday against New England. He can return to football activities with the team next Monday.

The violation was Goldson's fifth for unnecessary roughness since 2011 and his second in the first two weeks of the 2013 season. Goldson was fined $30,000 last week for striking a defenseless player, Jeff Cumberland, in the head and neck area against the New York Jets.

"You had an unobstructed path to your opponent," Hanks wrote in a letter to Goldson informing him of the suspension for the hit on Sproles. "It is clear that you lowered your head and unnecessarily rammed the left side of your helmet into the left side of your opponent's head. You delivered a forceful blow with your helmet and made no attempt whatsoever to wrap up your opponent or make a conventional tackle on the play. This illegal contact clearly could have been avoided."

49ers lose Williams

San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Ian Williams is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a broken left ankle that required surgery Monday.

Williams was injured in the first quarter of his first career start during the 49ers' 29-3 loss Sunday night at Seattle. The third-year pro earned the job as the replacement for the departed Isaac Sopoaga with a strong off-season and training camp.

Veteran Glenn Dorsey will take over the position.


The Baltimore Ravens are counting on having injured running back Ray Rice on Sunday against the unbeaten Houston Texans, even though the three-time Pro Bowl star may not be healthy enough to practice this week. Rice strained his left hip flexor Sunday in the fourth quarter of Baltimore's 14-6 win over the Cleveland Browns. ... Oakland Raiders strong safety Tyvon Branch will likely miss significant time with a right ankle injury suffered Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Coach Dennis Allen would not confirm an ESPN report that Branch broke his leg but said Oakland's highest-paid player in 2013 will be out for "some time." ... Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden will probably miss Sunday's game at Minnesota with a sprained right thumb.

Reggie Bush got hopeful results from an MRI exam on his banged-up left knee, allowing the Detroit Lions to breathe a sigh of relief. "The tests were encouraging," Lions Coach Jim Schwartz said. "He's going to be sore, but he doesn't have anything that's long term." ... Denver Broncos All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady hurt his left foot in the waning minutes of the 41-23 win over the New York Giants on Sunday, and there's a possibility he could miss a game for the first time in his six-year career. ... Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has a tendon strain in his left foot, and the Jaguars hope he won't miss any games. Coach Gus Bradley said that Jones-Drew will undergo an MRI exam and may sit out practice this week as a precaution. But he's encouraged that Jones-Drew could be ready to play Sunday in Seattle.

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