Brandon Meriweather suspended

Updated: October 21, 2013, 11:27 PM ET
By John Keim | ESPN.com

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was suspended for two games Monday after yet another Sunday marked by personal fouls. It will cost him $141,176 -- in addition to costing the Redskins their starter.

Meriweather was flagged twice for personal fouls in Sunday's 45-41 win over the Chicago Bears. He was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Alshon Jeffery at the end of a 28-yard catch late in the third quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, Meriweather launched into receiver Brandon Marshall after he dropped a pass in the end zone.

[+] EnlargeJames Starks
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY SportsRedskins safety Brandon Meriweather has a reputation for leading with his helmet on tackles.

If Meriweather appeals, as expected, there is precedent for winning an appeal. Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson had his one-game suspension overturned earlier this season after a helmet-to-helmet hit, although he was still fined $100,000. Last season, Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed won his appeal and his one-game suspension was reduced to a $50,000 fine.

After Sunday's game, Marshall said of Meriweather, "I respect the league trying to better our game. Guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely."

It's not the first time the NFL has punished Meriweather. He was fined $42,000 for two hits in a Week 2 loss at Green Bay. And he was fined $50,000 for a hit in 2010 with New England and accrued $45,000 in fines a year later with Chicago.

Retired Bear Brian Urlacher discussed his former teammate in a radio interview with ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy" show in Chicago.

"I don't think he's dirty," Urlacher said. "I think he puts himself in position where he makes bad judgment calls. You don't have to hit those guys with your head, you don't have to launch at them.

"But Brandon plays at full-speed. When he was with the Bears, he did the same thing. I don't think he's dirty. He doesn't do things ... I don't define that as being a dirty player. He just gets a chance to take big hits and he takes them."

Meriweather said Sunday, "No matter what I do, I feel I'll be in the wrong. If I hit you in the shoulder and slipped up, they still say it's head to head. If I hit them too low, I think somebody just got flagged for hitting somebody too low. It all depends on who's watching. I don't think we can be right.

"I think they're trying to be safe and I think the only way to be safe is to do what they're doing. But at the same time, this is tackle football. A job of a safety is to instill fear, and you can't do that with pulling up."

The Redskins play at Denver and then host San Diego in the next two weeks, meaning a team already thin at safety must play quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers without its starter.

Washington's other starting safety, Reed Doughty, exited Sunday's win with a concussion. The Redskins have no proven starter behind Doughty and Meriweather, and have been forced to often play three corners and one safety.

The Redskins can get a roster exemption until Meriweather returns.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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