Redskins back Brandon Meriweather
ASHBURN, Va. -- Brandon Meriweather's teammates fired back at comments from the Chicago Bears after the hard-hitting safety was flagged for two personal fouls Sunday, with Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall saying he has no respect for tight end Martellus Bennett.
The NFL suspended Meriweather for two games Monday because of repeat violations for his hits. The suspension was reduced to one game Wednesday after Meriweather's appeal of the decision.
Bennett said on his radio show on WSCR-670 in Chicago on Monday, "I still want to punch him in the face."
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said after Sunday's game that the NFL should consider banning Meriweather from the league.
Meriweather's teammates responded Wednesday.
"I don't know [Bennett] personally, but he had a chance to say whatever he wanted to during the game, after the game -- and the kid didn't open his mouth," Hall said. "No respect for a guy who wants to take a shot after the fact. No respect for a guy like that."
Meriweather was flagged 15 yards for a helmet-to-helmet hit against receiver Alshon Jeffery late in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Meriweather hit Marshall in the end zone after the receiver had dropped a pass and taken two steps.
"Guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely. ... I understand big hits. That's part of our game," Marshall said Sunday. "But when you have a guy that does it week in and week out, that's when it becomes a problem."
Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson scoffed at the idea that Meriweather should be kicked out of the league. He and Hall both pointed to safety Reed Doughty, who took a vicious hit while diving for an onside kick and suffered a concussion.
"Brandon Marshall would be kicked out of the league for pushing off every time he gets to the top of the route," Wilson said. "Every time a receiver comes in and cracks on a safety, he should be kicked out of the league for hitting him. The guy that hit Reed Doughty on the kickoff -- I could hear it from the sideline ... no one says anything about punching [that player] in the face. It has nothing to do with anybody having a vendetta against anyone. We're just out there trying to play football the best way we know how.
"Let the league decide what they do. Let the refs throw the flag, and let's just play the game. ... It's football. You signed up for this."
Hall was calmer when it came to Marshall's comments.
"Nobody is out there trying to purposely hurt somebody else," Hall said. "Brandon Marshall and Brandon Meriweather grew up together. They have a relationship beyond football. I'm pretty sure if he had to think about what he said, he wouldn't say it that way."
The Redskins say that Meriweather is not the same player who drew fines of $50,000 in 2010 and $45,000 in 2011 for his hits. He was fined $42,000 for hits in a Week 2 loss at Green Bay.
"I think he is adjusting," Wilson said. "I just think everyone else is having a harder time believing he's trying to be a better player. He's not headhunting out there anymore. It's hard for people to believe he's not the same guy.
"I understand what the league is doing. I don't agree with players coming out and trying to regulate the game. I don't think Brandon's a bad guy or a dirty guy. We grew up watching guys play football, and that's how we play football. We just have to adjust."
But Hall said it's tough for defensive backs to always know what to do. He also said they can't worry about the ramifications of a hit; they just have to get the guy down.
He also said every player should be protected.
"If we want to protect guys, we need to protect every player on the field and not just the receivers or the tight ends or the quarterbacks," Hall said. "If it's about protecting players, we need to protect everybody because we get hit hard just as a lot of guys. We don't get flags. We don't get any sympathy for it. We just get up and play or we sit out with concussions, like Reed is today."