Brandon Meriweather missed Sunday's game while serving a suspension for a pair of helmet-to-helmet hits. (LM Otero/Associated Press) Brandon Meriweather missed Sunday’s game while serving a suspension for a pair of helmet-to-helmet hits. (LM Otero/Associated Press)

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he believes that safety Brandon Meriweather now understands the importance of avoiding helmet-to-helmet hits going forward.

Meriweather on Monday returned from a one-game suspension for delivering a pair of helmet-to-helmet hits against the Chicago Bears two weeks ago. Meriweather initially received a two-game suspension because he was a repeat offender, who previously has been fined three times for a total of $117,000 during his career. But he appealed and got the punishment reduced to one game, which cost him his game check of just more than $70,000 .

Meriweather spoke to reporters on Monday and said “To be honest, you’ve just got to go low now. 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.”

Asked about Meriweather’s statement, Shanahan said, “Well, I’m not sure if I would have used those choice of words. I think I would have used different words, obviously. What happens with DBs a lot of times, when a running back is coming at you, do you hit them low or do you hit them high? Well most of those DBs, especially corners, they go low, and they have to go low because they can’t take people head-on. Safeties are a little bit different. They will take people head-on. Now those safeties have to go lower and it’s just part of the game. Nobody’s going to try to hurt anybody, but if you’re going to err on the side of caution, you would rather go low than you would high.”

Shanahan believes that Meriweather does understand the seriousness of the situation, however.

“Brandon knows that he’s got to go lower or he’s not going to be playing in the National Football League,” the coach said. “You’ve got to hit in that waist area. You can’t go too low because you’re going to get fined there too. You know it’s above the knee and lower than the chin, somewhere in that chest area, and you’re going to have to step up because you can’t penalize your team and you can’t penalize yourself.”

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