Brandon Meriweather Oblivious to NFL Safety Efforts

At a time when the NFL has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for traumatic brain injuries suffered by hundreds of former players over decades, and at a time when rule changes make traditionally common defensive maneuvers not just acts that will draw penalties, but also disqualifications, fines, and suspensions.

All this is apparently oblivious to Washington Redskins’ defensive back Brandon Meriweather.

In the past, I’ve written about a couple of guys who have distinguished themselves as perhaps the dirtiest players in the NFL. Among them is the guy who, while a usc brain surgeon and pete carroll protege’ became unquestionably in his college days the dirtiest player in college football, the Bengals’ Rey Maualuga. Several members of the Seattle

Seahawks defense also fit this mold. Last year, most of the Seahawks defensive backs, and a couple of defensive linemen as well, seemed to have taken lessons from Hulk Hogan, and in last night’s game the offense took part as well, highlighted by the very questionable play of Luke

Willson and Michael Robinson that ended the season for 49ers’ defensive end Derek Wolfe.

But the guy of the moment is Meriweather. Least you forget, prior to last season, he signed a big free agent contract, at $3 M per year, with the Redskins, was injured in training camp, played three-quarters of one regular season game, was injured again, and missed the rest of last year. A new injury this year kept him out of the opener, so yesterday he played in just his second-ever game as a Redskin, but not for long.

The game should have been an eye-opener for the Commish, Roger Goodell, and a message that all the rules in the world may not be enough to put a stop to the thug attitude that is so much to blame for serious injuries in his league.

On Green Bay rookie running back Eddie Lacy’s first carry of the game, Meriweather, running at full speed, put his head down and leveled his helmet into Lacy’s, crown first, as is already strictly prohibited by NFL rules. Did Meriweather care? Of course not. Lacy suffered a concussion, missed the rest of the game, and his future status is unknown.

Energized by seriously injuring the Packers’ rookie, Meriweather was far from finished inflicting injury. Lacy’s replacement was veteran James Starks, and when Starks was handed the ball on a running play 30 seconds into the second quarter, again Meriweather went after him, helmet

first, but this time it was Meriweather himself who was injured, suffering his own concussion, ending his day.

Keep in mind that this is nothing new for Meriweather – this type of play has been his style his whole career. Remember another violent, unnecessary hit he made on now retired tight end Todd Heap in 2010? Heap had leaped for a pass which had been overthrown and far over his head, but as Heap was in mid-air, Meriweather hit him like a speeding freight train.

This sort of thing will continue until these new rules and others have added muscle that hits players, and coaching staffs, where it hurts. What is necessary to get the message across are major suspensions without pay. Keep the Maualugas and the Meriweathers off the field of play until they learn that reckless disregard for human safety is not an inherent part of tacking.

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