- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on New York City, and, by extension, kept NFL offices closed early this week. But Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan implied that DeAngelo Hall being allowed to participate in practice could mean he won’t be suspended at least for this Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers for berating an official.

Hall took part in Wednesday’s practice as the Redskins await word from the league about punishment for the cornerback’s outburst late in the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers when he yelled at head linesman Dana McKenzie and was ejected.

“They wouldn’t let somebody practice a full practice if somebody was going to be suspended for this week’s game,” Shanahan said. “At least it’s never happened, I don’t believe it’s happened before. It’s never happened to me.”

League spokesman Greg Aiello said earlier Wednesday that Hall’s conduct still was under review. Shanahan said he would address the situation once commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hand down a ruling.

Goodell said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio that the football operations department was evaluating and would make a decision Wednesday or Thursday.

“That’s not what football is about,” Goodell said. “We’re not suggesting that everyone is going to agree with every officiating call on the field, but there’s a way to do that and there’s a way not to do it. And we have very strong rules in this area, and we’re going to enforce them aggressively.”

Hall, who was reluctant to talk about the incident Sunday, opened up about it in a radio interview Tuesday in which he said he and McKenzie were “equally at fault” for what occurred.

“From [the television] camera angle you can’t see what that ref’s saying to me. So it looks like I’m just out there giving him a piece of my mind and he’s smiling and walks away,” Hall told 106.7 The Fan. “And that’s not the case at all. He’s dishing it out just as much as I’m dishing it out.”

Hall explained that he believed Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders got away with a cheap shot by throwing him to the ground after the play with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“For me to walk away from that incident and plead with the ref and beg, like, ‘Dude, what do I have to do to get a flag? Dude just slammed me, nothing happened. I don’t understand what you’re looking at. If you’re going to try to keep this game safe and the way it’s supposed to be played, there’s no way that particular play shouldn’t have drawn a flag,’” Hall said.

Hall did not speak to reporters during Wednesday’s open locker room session.

Meriweather ‘long shot’ to play

Safety Brandon Meriweather (left knee) hasn’t played a regular-season game for the Redskins, and the Panthers game might not be the ideal target for his debut.

“I would say the chances would be after the bye,” Shanahan said. “Is there a chance? Yeah, there’s a chance. But I’d say it’s more of a long shot.”

Meriweather was on track to return Sept. 30 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but a pregame collision with Aldrick Robinson knocked him back out. He said he was feeling a lot better but didn’t know when he could play.

“We’re going to go out, I’m going to push it a little bit and see where we go from there. If it goes good, maybe y’all will see me out there this week,” Meriweather said. “If it goes bad, I’ll be out another week. Either way it goes, I’ve got two weeks before our next game, so it should be OK.”

Wide receiver Pierre Garcon did not practice because of a nagging right foot injury.

“I’m sure it’s getting better with the time off, but my mindset is probably after the Carolina game,” Shanahan said.

Rocca punts through pain

Sav Rocca plans to continue punting despite pain caused by the medial meniscus tear in his right knee.

“It’s sore, but I want to keep my job, so I keep punting,” Rocca said Wednesday. “It’s in the back of my mind that it’s there. It is painful, but I try and get by. I can hit good punts with it, so I don’t blame it for having a bad punt.”

Rocca was injured while running after practice Oct. 17 as part of his normal weekly conditioning regimen. He felt a pop as he decelerated on his last sprint. It reminded him of the time a few years ago when he tore his lateral meniscus while with Philadelphia.

“I knew straight away,” he said. “It was a pop that I’ve heard before.”

Rocca, 38, has punted five times in two games since the injury. His longest punt was 52 yards and his shortest was 12, both against Pittsburgh last Sunday. He has averaged 36.8 yards on those five punts.

Rocca can kick without pain, but he feels it almost all the time.

“The actual kick is OK,” he said. “It’s my lead-up before the kick, the steps, the planting, that I feel it.”

• Rich Campbell can be reached at rcampbell@washingtontimes.com.

• Stephen Whyno can be reached at swhyno@washingtontimes.com.

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