The NFL has suspended Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather for two games for an illegal hit on Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Meriweather was penalized for a personal foul for hitting a defenseless receiver in the head and neck area when he struck Smith in the second quarter Saturday night during the Ravens' 23-17 victory. Smith was unhurt on the play.
Meriweather also hit Ravens running back Bernard Pierce in the head, causing a concussion and forcing him out of the game, but it was a legal hit.
This marks Meriweather's sixth violation of unnecessary roughness rules regarding hits to defenseless players and impermissible use of the helmet.
Meriweather, if he doesn't appeal and get the suspension lifted or reduced, will lose two game checks costing him $100,588 of his $855,00 base salary.
The punishment was imposed by NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent.
"On the play in question, Meriweather delivered a forceful blow to the head and neck area of a defenseless receiver with no attempt to wrap up or make a conventional tackle of this player," Vincent said in a statement.
Last year, Meriweather was suspended for one game.
While playing for the New England Patriots in 2010, Meriweather was fined $50,000 for an illegal hit on former Ravens tight end Todd Heap where he launched himself into the air to deliver a crushing blow to Heap's face.
Meriweather has three days to appeal the suspension under the NFL collective bargaining agreement. Any potential appeal would be heared by appeals officers Derrick Brooks or Ted Cottrell, who are appointed jointly and compensated by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun