For Kareem Jackson, his career with the Denver Broncos has come to an unceremonious close. At least for now.

Jackson, the hard-hitting veteran safety, was suspended for six total games this year and fined nearly $90k. And ultimately he has been waived by the Broncos.

The Houston Texans, the team he was drafted to in 2010, are claiming him on Tuesday afternoon.

Kareem Jackson’s career had ups-and-downs with Broncos

When he came to Denver, he was 31 years old and made the transition from cornerback to safety. For the first nine years, he was a tough-nosed corner with the Texans, picking off a career-high four passes in 2012.

With the Broncos, Jackson used those ball skills pester opposing players. He picked off two passes and defending 10 more in 2019.

But as time went on and he lost a little speed, Jackson turned his focus to physicality. Simply, the strong safety loved to hit people, even the often bigger running backs, at the line of scrimmage.

In the passing game, Jackson was a brutal hitter for Denver. He broke up passes and sometimes knocking opponents out of games. However, the latter happened far too often this year, with some downright dirty hits from the veteran.

Jackson’s huge hits in 2023 were dirty at times

The first big hit was arguably his worst of the year.

Logan Thomas jumped up to catch the ball, and Jackson tried to dislodge the ball with his head. He dropped his eyes and led with the crown of his helmet, smacking Thomas in the head with thunderous force. Jackson was ejected for the hit.

Here was one on Josh Dobbs that wasn’t even called a penalty. Note the missile-like flight:

And this is the one which Jackson was suspended four games for. Many fans were upset with the ruling because it looks like he contacted Musgrave’s shoulder. However, he does seem to launch and hit the tight end’s helmet, too.

Jackson out: Denver has new safety duo in P.J. Locke, Justin Simmons

Jackson and Justin Simmons were a great pairing of safeties. The former Broncos safety brought the toughness—and Simmons likes to hit, too—while Simmons is arguably the best pass-defending safety in the league.

But since Jackson’s suspensions, P.J. Locke has stepped up and into the starting role.

And it looks like the Broncos are expecting him to continue to be the starter in 2024.

He’s played great football in the six starts to this point. Locke has 43 total tackles, two forced fumbles, four passes defensed, and an interception. The fourth-year defensive back is relishing his opportunity and he even took a 40-hour road trip to make the Lions game in Detroit. Per Jeff Legwold, a hit against Austin Ekeler left Locke nearly voiceless and a doctor suggested he not fly.

But he knew the game was crucial, so he drove an RV from Denver to Detroit.

“The doctor said I shouldn’t fly, so I said let’s gas it up,” Locke said to Legwold. “It definitely wasn’t ideal, but I chose to do it, prime time, we’re fighting to finish strong.”

After the 26-23 loss to the Patriots on Christmas Eve, Denver (7-8) now has a 1.4% chance of making the playoffs. They face the Chargers and Raiders in the last two weeks of the season before gearing up for what fans hope is a better year in 2024.