NFLPA's Smith knows Meriweather 'is sorry for what he said'


NFLPA head DeMaurie Smith knows Brandon Merriweather's is sorry for his comments. (USATSI)
On Monday, Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather returned to work after serving a one-game suspension for repeated violations to the NFL's safety rules prohibiting hits to the head.

When asked his thoughts on the suspension, Meriweather said, “The NFL had to do what they have to do, you know? I guess they felt like suspending me for a game was the right thing to do to make an example -- that they don't tolerate aggressive plays."

A perfectly reasonable response had Meriweather stopped there. But he didn't.

“To be honest, man, you've just got to go low now, man," he continued. "You've got to end people's careers, you know? You've got to tear people's ACLs and mess up people's knees now. You can't hit them high no more. You've just got to go low.”

Meriweather's underlying point -- that the legal area to hit a player continues to shrink -- is a legitimate gripe. And injuries like the ones suffered by Dustin Keller and Randall Cobb are the unintended consequences of actions not thought through entirely by the league. Yes, the NFL should thrive for making the game as safe as possible, but drastic changes don't come without ramifications. And the league can't argue that knee injuries were unforeseen because players lamented the possibly as soon as the new rules were announced.

That said, Meriweather can't just come out and proclaim that his solution is to start blowing up ACLs one player at a time.

On Wednesday, the NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith issued a statement regarding Meriweather's remarks.

“I spoke to Brandon. He is passionate about the game, and I know he is sorry for what he said. 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.”

Lhe league has no plans to punish Meriweather further.

“We are not approaching it as a matter that requires discipline,” league spokesman Greg Aiello told USAToday.com.

Meanwhile, Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett expects Meriweather to play within the rules going forward. 

If you're keeping score, in addition to last week's suspension, Meriweather was fined $42,000 earlier this season for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers running back Eddie Lacy. With the Bears in 2011, he was fined $20,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit and another $25,000 for unnecessary roughness. In 2010 with the Patriots, Meriweather was fined $50,000 (later reduced to $40,000) for a vicious hit on then-Ravens tight end Todd Heap.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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