Brandon Meriweather Suspended: Latest Details, Analysis and Reaction

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Brandon Meriweather Suspended: Latest Details, Analysis and Reaction
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Updates from Saturday, Aug. 30

CBS Sports' Eye on Football provides an update on Brandon Meriweather's suspension:

Redskins star Ryan Clark shared his thoughts, presumably about Meriweather's suspension: 

 

Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 27

Troy Vincent spoke on Brandon Meriweather's suspension during an interview with the NFL Network (via John Keim of ESPN.com):

"Brandon has been someone that has been in this particular [situation] multiple times," Vincent told the network. "We've just cited the four or five most recent. But in this particular case, Brandon hit a player in that area that we consider a very sensitive area, which is that head and neck area. So we went back from 2009 to current, and this is technique that we want to remove from the game."

 

Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 26

Zac Boyer of The Washington Times reported on Brandon Meriweather's next step after being suspended on Monday:

Brandon Meriweather has chosen to appeal the two-game suspension he was handed for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith on Saturday, according to Redskins coach Jay Gruden and free safety Ryan Clark.

Meriweather was handed the punishment on Monday, two days after he hit Smith in the second quarter of the Redskins’ preseason game against the Ravens. Clark said he had already told DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, that Meriweather would be appealing.

“They were collecting the film to begin readying the appeal,” Clark said. “Brandon’s definitely going to appeal it. I’m on the executive board, so I’ve already been reaching out to people, doing what I can to make sure that we fight this thing to the fullest of our ability.”

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith doesn't think Meriweather should have been suspended:

Redskins defensive end Brian Orakpo agrees:

 

Original Text

Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather has been suspended for the team's first two regular-season games for yet another player safety rules violation.

NFC football communications director Randall Liu reported the news on Monday:

An official statement from the NFL divulged more information on Meriweather's punishment and exactly what he did to prompt disciplinary action:

Safety Brandon Meriweather of the Washington Redskins has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the regular season for his sixth violation of unnecessary roughness rules relating to hits to defenseless players and impermissible use of the helmet. In the second quarter of the Redskins’ August 23 game against the Baltimore Ravens, Meriweather made forcible contact to the head and neck area of a defenseless player (Torrey Smith) on a pass play.

Meriweather has not stated whether he plans to appeal the suspension, according to Mike Jones of The Washington Post:

Judy Battista of NFL.com analyzed the situation in the context of Meriweather's repeated offenses:

Meriweather tried to defend his latest transgression and didn't think his hit on Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith warranted a flag, per The Washington Post's Jones:

No, I don’t. But at the same time, I’m not the one who wrote the book on penalties. I tried to aim at his numbers. I kind of seen the pass go, and I went in and aimed low, and I hit him with my shoulder. I did everything my coaches taught me to do, and I got the flag.

[...]

I’m trying to do what the NFL asked me after going through the offseason, and working on the things I need to work on, and the first chance I get, it seems like I failed...I’ll continue to work on my game, I’m going to continue to try to get lower, and do the things they ask me to do. I’ve got Ryan [Clark] here. I’ve got coaches and everyone here helping me with it. At the end of the day, I have to find a way to make it happen.

Washington head coach Jay Gruden had Meriweather's back after viewing playback of the game tape, per the team's official Twitter account:

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall spoke out in defense of his teammate:

Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey is strongly opposed to Meriweather's style of play:

Among Meriweather's notable prior incidents was a vicious hit last season. A brutal helmet-to-helmet collision with Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy cost Meriweather $42,000 in fines and caused Lacy to sustain a concussion early in the 2013 campaign.

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As is evident by his repeated failures to adjust to this new age of the NFL that prioritizes the protection of offensive players, Meriweather has become notorious for hard, illegal hits. If the message hasn't gotten through after numerous fines over the years, perhaps this two-game suspension is the wake-up call Meriweather needs to permanently adjust his approach on the gridiron.

Football is a violent sport by nature, and that is all the more obvious at the highest level. Nevertheless, numerous other NFL players have managed to stay out of trouble, while Meriweather continues to blast receivers across the middle of the field, jeopardizing their future—and even his own.

There is no denying Meriweather's talent as a former first-round draft pick, but he must temper his aggression while still making an impact on the field. Otherwise, he won't be able to contribute much to a Washington team hoping to bounce back from a nightmarish 3-13 record.

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