Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather is expected to be suspended by the NFL this week, according to multiple media reports on Monday morning.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter has tweeted that Meriweather will be suspended “one or two games” for his illegal hits on Chicago Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery during Sunday’s 45-41 victory. CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora also tweeted that Meriweather will be suspended, but didn’t cite a length.
Those two penalties go along with the two Meriweather took during a Sept. 15 game in Green Bay. The NFL fined Meriweather $42,000 for one of them. That helmet-to-helmet collision with Eddie Lacy gave the Packers running back a concussion and knocked him from the game. Meriweather has a long history of fines for similar plays. He accrued $95,000 worth in 2010 and 2011 alone, according to Sports Illustrated.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he had talked with league officials about the hits and maintained that a suspension wasn’t forthcoming.
“We’re not bracing for him being suspended. No,” Shanhan said.
He later added: “My opinion really doesn’t matter here. It’s what the league thinks and so we’re going to wait until the due process and see what they say and we’ll go from there.
The first personal foul on Meriweather in Sunday’s game came with 1:54 left in the third quarter for late hit on Jeffery. That came on a second-and-5 play with the Redskins ahead 31-24. Jeffrey was credited with a 28-yard catch into Washington territory and the ball was moved forward to the 28. Chicago scored four plays later on a Matt Forte touchdown run to tie the game.
The next penalty was for hitting a defenseless receiver. Meriweather came in late on Marshall to break up a pass in the end zone. It was a first-and-goal play at the 14 thanks to a previous Bears penalty. With a new set of downs and the ball at the 7, Chicago scored on a pass to tight end Martellus Bennett to take a 41-38 lead.
Washington’s coaching staff has worked with Meriweather over the last few weeks to curb his penchant for these types of penalties. For three weeks he was fine. No issues. But on Sunday he relapsed.
“I think [Meriweather] knows exactly what he has to do,” Shanahan said. “And sometimes there’s no intent there. Sometimes you hit a guy a little bit higher than anticipated. Even on the last one, he comes to the sideline and says ‘One [official] told me it was a good hit and the other official official told me that he saw it differently.’ So there’s a lot of different interpretations of it and at the end of the day we’ll find out.”