Anyone who has seen film of Jack Tatum’s hit on wide receiver Darryl Stingley in an August 1978 preseason game, a blow that left Stingley a quadriplegic for the rest of his life, held his breath for a second on Sunday when Washington safety Brandon Meriweather delivered blows to the heads on separate hits of Bears receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Those were being reviewed by the NFL on Monday for potential discipline.
Up in Green Bay, tight end Jermichael Finley was in intensive care at a Wisconsin hospital with a neck injury suffered on a hit Sunday by Cleveland Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.
Meriweather and Gipson were penalized for their blows and Meriweather incurred a two-game suspension as a repeat offender, according to CBS.com's Jason La Confora. Meriweather’s hit on Marshall, like Tatum’s on Stingley, came after the pass was incomplete.
Meriweather was fined $42,000 earlier this season for a hit that left Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy with a concussion; $40,000 for two hits as a New England Patriot in 2010; and a total of $45,000 for hits on consecutive weeks while with the Bears in 2011.
“I wouldn’t speak about Brandon,” said general manager Phil Emery. “He’s on another team. That will be addressed with the Washington Redskins not the Chicago Bears.
“In terms of player safety, Chicago Bears are going to follow the rules to the best of our ability. Players get fined when those type of things happen, when the infractions happen. I see the fine sheet every week, so the league has written the rules in the best interest of the players. They’ve been approved by ownership and they’ll be applied by the officials and we’ll stand by them.”
Washington coach Mike Shanahan said after Sunday’s game that he hoped Meriweather did not face a suspension “because I know it’s not intentional.”
Shanahan may be alone in that opinion.
Marshall was not as indulgent.
“When you have a guy that does it week in and week out, “Marshall said, “that’s when it becomes a problem.”