Brandon Meriweather: 'I'm going to be aggressive, point blank.'
New England Patriots defensive back Brandon Meriweather defended his hit on Todd Heap of the Baltimore Ravens in the face of speculation that he will be fined by the NFL for launching himself for helmet-to-helmet contact Sunday. The NFL has vowed to crack down on such plays.
"I'm going to be aggressive, point blank," Meriweather said during his weekly interview Monday on WEEI Radio in Boston. He declined to comment . "I won't change my game, period. I'm sorry it happened. Heap is actually a real good friend of mine. I talked to him yesterday and let him know it wasn't intentional and he told me he understood."
Ray Anderson, the NFL's vice president of officiating, called Meriweather's hit "flagrant" and "egregious" on ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" show. Meriweather said he jumped for the hit because he thought Heap was going to catch the ball. Patriots Coach Bill Belichick took Meriweather out of the game after the play.
"We ran that play a thousand times at practice," Meriweather said. "Every time at practice I broke on the ball and the tight end caught it every time. I thought it was going to be overthrown but the tight end always seemed to go and get it. Instead of me waiting for the ball to see if it was going to be overthrown I just attacked. I wasn't trying to for head-to-head contact, or trying to injury anybody, or play dirty in any kind of way. It just happened."
Even if you try to avoid helmet-to-helmet hits, Meriweather said, sometimes they are not preventable.
"You never know what someone is gong to do," Meriweather said. "You can try to go with your shoulder, but what if they move the same way you move, then it's still going to be head to head. There's a million different ways you can get head to head contact. You just gotta play aggressive. When things happen like that you just pray that nobody gets hurt."
One ex-player pundit, former Patriots DB Rodney Harrison, called for suspensions on hits like the one Meriweather made on NBC's "Sunday Night Football.
"You didn't get my attention when you fined me five grand, 10 grand, 15 grand," Harrison said. "You got my attention when I got suspended, and I had to get away from my teammates, and I disappointed my teammates from not being there."
To which Meriweather said: "Hot Rod has his opinion on a lot of things, but I think if he was still playing he would have never said anything like that."
| October 19, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
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