Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden has been suspended one game for ripping off the helmet of Delanie Walker and head-butting the Tennessee Titans tight end during the second quarter of Thursday's game.
The NFL announced Walden's suspension in a release Monday. Walden's suspension was earlier reported by Fox Sports.
Walden, who was not ejected for his actions, had his suspension upheld by the league on Tuesday, league sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen. He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for the incident.
It was initially believed that Walden's head-butt would result only in a hefty fine and not a suspension, but after expanded discussions, it was decided a suspension was appropriate. League sources tell ESPN Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen that if Walden had been ejected from the game, a suspension would have been unlikely.
"You have to keep your cool," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said last Friday. "We talked about it as soon as he got off the field. I talked to all those guys. No matter how frustrated you are, no matter how the game is going, no matter what the guy did to you, you cannot retaliate. You have to keep your composure. You have to keep your poise no matter what.
"He knows that. Erik is a grown man. He's accountable, and he understands that. He doesn't want to do anything to hurt this team."
Walden answered every question asked after the game and apologized for his actions, saying he was "selfish" for head-butting Walker.
Walker did not take it well after the game, however.
"That's dirty play, there is no need for stuff like that in the NFL," Walker said. "If you're getting your butt kicked, get your butt kicked. Don't rip somebody's helmet off and then head-butt them. I'm surprised he didn't get ejected. ...
"Dang, this is a sport we all play with each other, we're all family, this is a fraternity. For you to do some senseless act like that, that just tells me what type of player you are. There is no need to talk. I'm going to see him in two weeks and I'm going to whoop his butt again."
ESPN.com Colts reporter Mike Wells and Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky contributed to this report.