The NFL has suspended Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather for the first two games on the NFL season for unnecessary roughness in the team’s preseason game in Baltimore on Sunday.
Per the NFL’s statement on the suspension the second-quarter hit on Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith was Meriweather’s sixth violation of player safety rules.
Last year, Meriweather also received a two-game suspension for a high hit in a game against the Bears. The penalty was reduced to one game on appeal. Meriweather does have appeal rights in this matter as well.
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said that "Meriweather delivered a forceful blow to the head and neck area of a defenseless receiver with no attempt to wrap up or make a conventional tackle of this player" on the play, citing that and Meriweather’s status as a repeat offender as a reason for the severity of the penalty.
Meriweather will not be permitted to be in the team facility or to have any contact with the organization from September 1 through September 15, the day after the team’s second game of the season against Jacksonville. He will miss that game and the season opener against the Texans.
Earlier today, before the suspension was announced, Redskins coach Jay Gruden was asked about the hit, which drew a 15-yard penalty. “I thought he tried – in his best interest he tried his best to lower his target and avoid the helmet-to-helmet contact, but sometimes when you’re lowering and your receiver lowers at exactly the same time, it’s very difficult,” said Gruden. “But he’s trying to lower it.”
The Redskins will be able to fill Meriweather’s roster spot with another player while he is suspended. Candidates to start in his spot are Bacarri Rambo and, if healthy, Phillip Thomas.