Brandon Meriweather suspended

ASHBURN, Va. -- The NFL suspended Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather for the first two games of the season after he delivered another helmet-to-helmet hit.

Meriweather was flagged for a personal foul for his hit on Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith in the second quarter of Saturday's 23-17 preseason loss, continuing a career-long pattern of getting in trouble for his tackles. Meriweather was suspended for two games last season but after he won an appeal it was reduced to one game.

The NFL has fined Meriweather five times for illegal hits to defenseless players over his career, including a $42,000 fine for a hit on Green Bay's Eddie Lacy last season.

After a hit on Chicago wide receiver Brandon Marshall last October, the NFL suspended Meriweather for the first time.

He will not be allowed at the team's facility or have any contact with team personnel from Sept. 1 until Sept. 15. Meriweather has three days to appeal the decision.

In a statement, the NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said, "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."

After the game, Meriweather said he did not think it was a helmet-to-helmet hit.

"No, I don't. But at the same time, I'm not the one who wrote the book on penalties," he said. "I tried to aim at his numbers. I kind of seen the pass go, and I went in and aimed low, and I hit him with my shoulder. I did everything my coaches taught me to do, and I got the flag.

"I'm trying to do what the NFL asked me after going through the offseason, and working on the things I need to work on, and the first chance I get, it seems like I failed."

Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg said it seems odd Meriweather got the same penalty that Ravens running back Ray Rice received.

Sketchyyyyyy... Seems a bit excessive, I mean it's not like he knocked out his wife in a casino elevator... On video...

- Nick Sundberg (@NickSundberg) August 25, 2014Fellow defensive back DeAngelo Hall used Twitter to defend his teammate.

@nfl how do you adjust your target on a person who keeps changing there strike zone. My guy aim low and the WR lowered his head

- DeAngelo Hall (@DeAngeloHall23) August 25, 2014Earlier on Monday, coach Jay Gruden said he wasn't sure what the NFL would rule. But he said Meriweather tried to lower his target.

"Unfortunately as he was lowering his target, the receiver felt him and lowered his head at the same time," Gruden said. "It was a bang-bang play. It's up to the commissioner and the people looking at that whether or not he's going to get fired or what have you. But I thought he tried ... to lower his target."

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