The Green Bay Packers announced they have suspended All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander for his pregame actions against the Carolina Panthers in Week 16. He is suspended for one game.
Alexander was on the field for the coin toss despite not being one of the Packers' gameday captains. According to ESPN's Rob Demovsky, Alexander told officials they wanted the defense to be on the field. As Demovsky notes, that's not the same as asking to defer.
While the Packers ended up with the decision they wanted, Alexander could've put them in a tough spot.
The team released a statement from Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst following Alexander's suspension:
"The decision to suspend a player is never easy and not one we take lightly. Unfortunately, Jaire's actions prior to the game in Carolina led us to take this step," said Gutekunst. "As an organization, we have an expectation that everyone puts the team first. While we are disappointed, we had a good conversation with Jaire this morning and fully expect him to learn from this as we move forward together. We look forward to welcoming him back next week as he is a valued member of this team and will continue to be in the future."
Packers will miss Jaire Alexander for showdown vs. Justin Jefferson in Week 16
This suspension is significant for the Packers. Alexander will miss Sunday's must-win matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. It's effectively a playoff game for Green Bay, as a loss would almost certainly end any hopes of making the playoffs.
Joe Barry's defense has struggled in recent weeks, and they must now figure out a way to slow down All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson without Alexander.
Alexander shut down Jefferson in the last matchup they played against each other last season. However, Jefferson dominated the Packers' secondary in their last game at U.S. Bank Stadium, catching nine passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
It means Eric Stokes and Carrington Valentine will have to play a more significant role for Green Bay's defense.
The Vikings could be without multiple key starters in Week 17, but Jefferson is the biggest concern for Barry's defense. Not having Alexander available significantly hurts Green Bay's chances, although the team has made the correct call to suspend him.
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