NEW YORK (AP) -- Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson has been 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 New Orleans for making direct, helmet-to-helmet contact with a defenseless receiver, Darren Sproles.
The suspension was imposed Monday by NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks. Goldson can't practice this week nor play in the Buccaneers' game on 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."
Under the collective bargaining agreement, Goldson has three days to appeal and request an expedited hearing and decision. Appeals are heard and decided by either Matt Birk or Ted Cottrell, the officers jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association to oversee appeals of on-field player discipline.
Goldson was an All-Pro safety last season with San Francisco, then joined Tampa Bay as a free agent.