Patriots safety Brandon Merriweather may be the first player targeted under the NFL’s new helmet-to-helmet rule.
On Wednesday, the NFL plans to announce that, effective this weekend, first-time offenders will face suspension for “devastating hits” and “head shots,” according to Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King believes that Merriweather is already in line for a suspension after launching himself at Ravens’ tight end Todd Heap in New England’s overtime win on Sunday.
“Any chance that Meriweather will be fined or suspended for hit?” King tweeted on Monday night. “Yes. My guess is he’ll be suspended.”
The 26-year-old expressed regret for injuring Heap, who later returned to the game, but did say he had no plans to change his ferocious style of play.
“I was playing aggressive and something happened,” Meriweather said on WEEI Monday, according to the Boston Herald. “I’m going to be aggressive. Point blank. I won’t change my game, period. I’m sorry it happened.”
Meriweather, who added he is friends with Heap and that the two spoke after the game, said these kind of hits aren’t intentional, they are just a rough byproduct of a violent game.
“It’s football. You’ve got a lot of good players, where you think one thing, and another thing can happen in a split-second,” Meriweather said. “My split-second decision was to be aggressive and not wait for it.”
The NFL is also investigating high hits from Atlanta Falcons safety Dunta Robinson and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison that also resulted in head injuries this weekend.