GREEN BAY, Wis. — Another comeback attempt, another disappointing end.
In an unfortunate yet familiar story line, Washington Redskins starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather made his long awaited return to action Sunday but couldn’t make it through a full game after suffering a concussion that left him lying motionless on the field for several minutes.
Meriweather, who missed the season opener with a groin injury, suffered the injury 30 seconds into the second quarter when he tried to tackle Packers running back James Starks along the Green Bay sideline. Starks had taken the handoff, darted around the left end and gained 20 yards before colliding with Meriweather at the Washington 49-yard line.
Both players led with their heads at the point of contact, and Meriweather went down in a heap. Immediately, Packers players and coaches began waving for Redskins trainers to come across the field to tend to Meriweather, who hadn’t moved.
After several minutes, Meriweather sat up and eventually was helped to his feet. He walked off to the applause of Packers players and coaches and those of his teammates and headed straight to the locker room flanked by a trainer and team doctor.
“When he was laying there, that was not good to see. But hopefully he can come back because he’s a difference-maker out there,” Kerrigan said.
The Redskins announced a short time later that Meriweather had suffered a concussion and would not return.
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan did not provide an extensive update on Meriweather after the game. He said the safety did have a concussion, “but that’s all I’ve got right now.”
Meriweather was seen in the locker room afterward and talked with teammates, but because of the league’s policy on players who have suffered concussions, he was prohibited from speaking to the media.
Said cornerback Josh Wilson, “I believe that everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for him. He has to understand that plan, and he’ll be all right. It’s bigger than just one or two players. He’s going to be fine, and he’s going to be great.”
Sunday’s game marked the fifth failed comeback attempt for Meriweather, a former two-time Pro Bowl player the Redskins signed as a free agent in 2012. In 19 games since he signed, including the playoffs, Meriweather has played just more than three quarters.
Meriweather spent the offseason rehabbing from surgery and didn’t play until Week 4 of the preseason when he logged a half of action. His surgically repaired knee responded favorably to the limited action, but two days later in practice, Meriweather strained his groin and didn’t play against the Eagles.
The Redskins had hoped Meriweather, who fell out of favor in New England after two Pro Bowl appearances and then got demoted in 2011 in Chicago, could recapture his play-making form. Coaches value his ability to provide strong support against the running game and his ability to play a variety of pass coverages.
Meriweather’s latest return got off to a thunderous start. On the fifth play of the game, he delivered a blow that knocked Green Bay starting running back Eddie Lacy out of the game with a concussion. On the play, Meriweather came in from the side and appeared to hit Lacy helmet-to-helmet. No penalty was assessed.
Meriweather finished the game with two tackles, and eighth-year veteran Reed Doughty — who over the course of his career has been called upon frequently with injuries seemingly plaguing Washington’s starting strong safeties on an annual basis — took over at that spot. He finished with a team-high nine tackles but couldn’t help cure Washington’s defensive woes as the unit surrendered 38 points and nearly 600 yards.
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