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Friday, October 25, 2013
Coach: Appeal process needs change

By John Keim
ESPN.com

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan thinks the NFL's appeal process needs to change, saying even if a player wins his case it makes it difficult for him to play well that week.

Shanahan lost safety Brandon Meriweather to a one-game suspension for repeated helmet-to-helmet hits. The NFL initially suspended him two games, but Meriweather won a one-game reduction late Wednesday afternoon.

"Even if he did come back to play this week, it would have been hard for him to come back missing a couple days," Shanahan said. "It's not the ideal system right now, but it is what it is and we'll deal with it."

Shanahan's point: Meriweather would have missed the game-plan installation as well as practice on Wednesday because he would have been either in New York for his appeal or away from the facility until it was finalized. Players can't be at their team's facility when suspended.

Shanahan said "in a perfect world" a player would be suspended for the following game. That way, they'd have a chance to go through the appeal process differently, preventing them from missing game preparation.

"It's going to take a few days to look at it and go through the process," Shanahan said. "To not be in the facility for two or three days, then find out on a Thursday or possibly a Friday that he could play, he would miss all that work, all that preparation so it would be hard for him to play anyhow. It's something I'm sure we'll talk about in the offseason, but it is tough for any team to lose anybody. But as you go through an appeal, the earliest you can come back is Thursday and you've already missed a couple days of preparation."

Shanahan did not say whether he thought Meriweather, who will miss Sunday's game at the Denver Broncos, deserved to be suspended. On Monday, shortly before the league suspended Meriweather, Shanahan said he thought he would just be fined. He admitted Wednesday that he was just hoping that was the case.

"They looked at it and felt he deserved a one-game suspension," Shanahan said. "He won't be with us this weekend and we'll deal with that and we'll go from there."