Safety Brandon Meriweather did not play in Sunday’s 45-21 loss to the Denver Broncos because of a league-mandated one-game suspension for a pair of jarring hits a week earlier in a victory over the Chicago Bears. One of those hits resulted in a wrist injury to Brandon Marshall, prompting the Bears’ Pro Bowl wide receiver to suggest the league perhaps should consider banning Meriweather.
Meriweather’s response late Monday morning included the safety saying he would like to see “players who beat their girlfriends kicked out of the league.” That comment underscored the two-time Pro Bowl player’s disappointment at perception of him in some football circles following his trip to New York to explain his side of the hitting controversy.
In addition to the hit on Marshall in the end zone that drew a late flag, Meriweather also was penalized for leading with his helmet while tackling wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
“The case I made was I didn’t use my head in either one of the hits,” Meriweather said during the team’s open locker room session. “I know everybody is looking at the tape and are saying, ‘Oh, he’s a dirty player. He’s this, he’s that,’ which I get. But if anyone goes looks at the tape, I didn’t use my head in either hit, and I’m moving on from it.”
The league initially suspended Meriweather for two games, but an appeal got the punishment cut in half. Meriweather’s appeal was heard Wednesday by former NFL coach Ted Cottrell, one of two appeals officers jointly appointed by the league and players’ union to resolve cases involving discipline for on-field matters.
Meriweather’s suspension was without pay, and he forfeited $70,588 of his $1.2 million salary for this season. Meriweather, who is set to come back for this weekend’s home game against the San Diego Chargers, had said last week he was adjusting to the updated rules regarding hitting but that would need to make further modifications given the latest situation.
“To be honest, you’ve just got to go low now,” he said. “You’ve got to end people’s career. You’ve got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees now. You can’t hit them [that] way, you can’t hit them high anymore. You’ve just got to go low.”
The Takeaway video:
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