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Meriweather suspended 2 games for head hits




After delivering two illegal hits with his helmet, Washington safety Brandon Meriweather has two weeks to think about it, assuming he can still remember the blows he delivered.

By virtue of his actions, he is suspended from further participation for the next two weeks. He does have the ability to appeal this action within the next three days.

It is the third suspension levied for an on-field incident this season (one was overturned on appeal), and the fourth such suspension in league history that covers multiple games. The others on this ignominious list:

  • Charles Martin, 1986, Packers, throwing Bears quarterback Jim McMahon to the ground, 2 games
  • Albert Hanesworth, 2005, Titans, cleating Cowboys lineman Andre Gurode, 5 games
  • Ndamukong Suh, 2011, Lions, stepping on Packers lineman Evan Dietrick-Smith

NFL statement

Safety Brandon Meriweather of the Washington Redskins has been suspended without pay for two games for repeat violations this season of NFL safety rules prohibiting hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players, including two in Sunday’s Washington-Chicago Bears game.

The suspension was imposed by NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks.  Meriweather may not practice during the suspension nor play in the Redskins’ games this Sunday against the Denver Broncos and on November 3 against the San Diego Chargers.  He may not participate in any football activities with the team during the suspension. Meriweather will be reinstated on Monday, November 4.

Meriweather was penalized for unnecessary roughness in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against Chicago for a forcible helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver and again in the fourth quarter for a forcible hit to the head and neck area of a defenseless receiver.

In Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers, Meriweather delivered an illegal hit with the top/crown of the helmet to a runner who was outside the tackle box.  He was fined $42,000 for that violation.

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension may be appealed within three business days and an expedited hearing and decision requested in advance of Sunday’s game. Appeals are heard and decided by either Matt Birk or Ted Cottrell, the officers jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFLPA to decide appeals of on-field player discipline.

Image: Washington Redskins photo

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)