Safety Brandon Meriweather on Thursday is expected to play for the first time since Week 11 of the 2012 season. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Redskins strong safety Brandon Meriweather is expected to make his return to the football field Thursday when the team closes out the preseason at Tampa Bay.

Coach Mike Shanahan said last week that it was possible that Meriweather – who tore his ACL in Week 11 of last season – might play Thursday, and a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Monday that Meriweather is indeed on target to make his debut in Tampa.

If healthy, Meriweather will enter the season as Washington’s starting strong safety.

The team signed him in the spring of 2012, hoping he could recapture the two-time Pro Bowl form that he sported with the New England Patriots in 2009 and 2010. But Meriweather battled knee injuries all season and didn’t play until Week 11. His season ended early in the second half of that game.

Meriweather has practiced off and on since the start of training camp, but the team has held him back at times to allow soreness to subside. Meriweather practiced fully in each of the last two weeks, and hoped to play last Saturday against Buffalo. But the Redskins opted to hold him out another week.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins practice began at 1 p.m. today. Mike Shanahan speaks afterward.

● The roster must be cut down to 75 players from 90 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

More on the Redskins:

Cousins says he’s practicing and we’ll be back for Week 1

Reid: Kerrigan’s increasing impact is no fluke

Mailbag: Emergency QB, the Lisfranc and Richard Seymour

Who will make the Redskins 53-man roster?

WR Stallworth cut | So is FB Kettani | RT competition over?

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook