NFL suspends Brandon Meriweather two games for dangerous hits vs. Bears
Brandon Marshall suggested that Washington safety Brandon Meriweather “get suspended or taken out of the game completely” following two more reckless hits by Meriweather Sunday. The NFL may have listened.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Meriweather is facing a one- or two-game suspension for the pair of personal fouls he committed in Washington’s win over Chicago — one on Alshon Jeffery, another on Marshall. (Update: Meriweather was hit with a two-game suspension on Monday.)
Meriweather already drew a $42K fine earlier this season for knocking out Eddie Lacy with a helmet-to-helmet hit. Meriweather also injured himself in that Green Bay game, on another high tackle attempt, against James Starks.
“Guys like that really don’t understand that there is life after football,” Marshall said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I respect the league trying to better our game, and guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely.”
Meriweather and Marshall collided as Marshall cut across the Washington end zone trying to catch a pass. The Bears’ receiver dipped his body slightly as he reached for the ball, and Meriweather launched himself right into Marshall’s head, stunning both players temporarily.
The hit Meriweather delivered on Jeffery earlier in the game was at least equally violent, if not more so. Jeffery had just started running after leaping for a reception when Meriweather drilled him with a helmet to the chin. (GIF via DraftDaddy.)
Meriweather definitely falls under the “repeat offender” category by now. He was fined $50,000 for a pair of hits on Baltimore tight end Todd Heap during a 2010 game, then compiled another $45K in fines the next season. He has not, at any point, been suspended for his on-field play.
That all may — and should — change this week. Given the NFL’s ever-increasing emphasis on eliminating dangerous head shots, Meriweather’s repeated insistence on targeting opponents up high has to be tagged as unacceptable. Many of Ndamukong Suh’s critics have argued that his next infraction should result in a suspension because a series of fines has done nothing to change his playing style. The same reasoning could be applied to Meriweather, who has heard from the league multiple times about his dangerous tackling, only to continue it.
He’s hurting his own team, too. His penalty on Jeffery helped the Bears march for a Matt Forte touchdown; the one on Marshall negated what would have been a third down for Chicago, instead giving the Bears a 1st-and-goal.
A suspension is more than warranted at this point, and it appears that the league agrees.