Final thoughts on Meriweather's fine

October, 19, 2010
10/19/10
10:20
PM ET
The NFL has made its statement, fining Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather $50,000 for two helmet-to-helmet hits against Ravens tight end Todd Heap.

It's a strong statement. Meriweather earns a base salary of $550,000, so this is almost 10 percent of his salary.

While some called for a suspension, such a decision would have been inconsistent with past rulings, like Jets safety Eric Smith's hit on Wes Welker in Week 2. On that blow to the head, Smith was fined "only" $7,500, which wasn't much of a statement at all by the NFL. In Week 1, running back Kevin Faulk also absorbed a blow to the head that didn't draw a penalty or fine.

From this view, the league seems to realize it has been inconsistent on penalties and fines with blows to the head and is now tightening things up, saying it is prepared to come down harder after several helmet-to-helmet hits in the same weekend.

As for Meriweather, he amazingly said on sports radio WEEI that he doesn't plan to change his style of play. He should reconsider that mindset.

The next hit like Sunday's will almost certainly result in a suspension.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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