Washington coach Jay Gruden has said he’ll yank safety Brandon Meriweather from practice if he hits teammates too high. When it comes to opponents, the league office will now decide whether Meriweather will be removed from play.
After Saturday night’s penalty for an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens receiver Torrey Smith, some league insiders believe Meriweather will face another suspension. One league source predicted that Meriweather will get a multi-game ban.
“I tried to aim at his numbers,” Meriweather said after the game, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “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.”
Whether he gets a fine or worse will be determined by the league office, subject to appeal. Given the NFL’s system of progressive discipline, Meriweather’s one-game suspension in 2013 makes him susceptible to a multi-game suspension in 2014.
“I don’t know,” Meriweather said regarding whether further discipline is coming. “That’s not for me to judge. That’s for the NFL. . . . 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.”
Last year, Ted Cottrell reduced Meriweather’s two-game suspension to one game via the appeal process. Meriweather could soon by relying once again on Cottrell or Derrick Brooks imposing something less than what the league office initially does.
Meriweather has an extensive history of illegal hits against receivers, including a helmet-to-helmet hit on former Ravens tight end Todd Heap on October 17, 2010, a day that included a trio of helmet-to-helmet hits throughout the league in real time, prompting the NFL to enforce the rules regarding hits against defenseless pass-catchers more aggressively.