Forced by the NFL to turn away from the helmet-to-helmet hits that have defined his career to date, Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather vowed upon return from his recent one-game suspension -- a suspension that stemmed from two questionable hits against the Chicago Bears -- that he would have a new point of focus.
“To be honest, you’ve just got to go low now,” Meriweather said, according to ESPN 980′s Chris Russell. “You gotta end people’s careers. You gotta tear people’s ACLs. Mess up people’s knees. You can’t him them high anymore. You’ve just got to go low.”
With 5:18 left in the first half of the Redskins' game against the Chargers, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw a quick pass to halfback Danny Woodhead on 1st-and-15 from the Chargers' 15-yard line. Meriweather closed in on Woodhead, and clearly went low. It was a borderline play, but Meriweather is far beyond the benefit of the doubt.
(GIF via BuzzFeed Sports)
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith spoke with Meriweather this past week about his comments. "He is passionate about the game, and I know he is sorry for what he said," Smith related in a statement. "He is concentrating on helping his team win the rest of the season. Brandon knows that all players have a responsibility to each other and to play within the rules of the game."
Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett also defended his player.
"Brandon's a good guy. He's a good person. I don't think he'll do anything that harms the team. He said something out of emotion, the way he felt. But just knowing Brandon and the way he practiced ... he'll stay within the rules and do what's best. He's not going to try and hurt our football team."
We'll see. Meriweather wasn't penalized for the tackle, but Merton Hanks, the league's VP of Football Operations, has also spoken with Meriweather, and this is a player who will be closely monitored through the rest of his career.