- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION

If Brandon Meriweather learned anything from his one-week NFL-mandated sabbatical, evidence is in short supply.

The same poor judgment the veteran Redskins safety has shown on the field this season continued Monday in the locker room at Redskins Park.

No contrition. No responsibility. Not even a no comment.

In five games this season, Meriweather has collected five helmet-to-helmet hits, two personal fouls, one concussion received (another delivered), a $42,000 fine and the suspension that cost him $70,588.

The latest two illegal hits against the Bears two weeks ago, of course, cost him the chance to play against the NFL’s top passing offense in Denver, forcing the Redskins to use a secondary held together by training tape and, presumably, prayer.

The 45-21 loss to the Broncos wasn’t Meriweather’s priority Monday, though. Not when the opportunity to toss around more macho double-talk existed for the man who has constructed a career around hurting himself, hurting others and hurting his team.

And, once again, he called attention to himself for all the wrong reasons.

“To be honest, man, you’ve just got to go low now, man,” Meriweather told reporters. “You’ve got to end people’s careers, you know? You’ve got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees now. You can’t hit them high no more. You’ve just got to go low.”

Yes, end careers. From someone who knows the pain of a serious knee injury after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament last season. From someone whose response to finally being suspended after years worth of headhunting is petulance. From someone who should ask a few of the 4,800 ex-players suing the NFL about the long-term consequences of brain damage.

But, no. Meriweather wants to go for the knees. To hurt people. All because he can’t take head shots.

Each locker room has posters demonstrating the NFL’s preferred tackling technique. The dubious practicality of the approach in fast-paced game situations is a worthwhile debate. But there’s little excuse for not knowing what the league expects.

Why are so many teammates able to operate within those rules that so confound Meriweather?

In previous weeks, he pleaded ignorance about how to tackle in an era where the NFL is attempting to remove the head from the game. He could’ve initiated a needed discussion about the foggy line between legal and illegal hits and, really, the implausibility of preventing head-to-head contact. He could’ve had something constructive, even worthwhile, to say. That didn’t happen.

Instead, Meriweather continued to hide behind tough talk, whined about the NFL cracking down on aggressive plays and shifted blame.

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