ASHBURN, Va. – Washington safety Brandon Meriweather has been suspended for two games for his latest blow to the head of an opponent, which league officials said is his sixth violation of player-safety rules.
Meriweather will be suspended for the first two regular-season games for his helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Torrey Smith in the second quarter of Saturday night’s 23-17 exhibition loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Meriweather, 30, will miss the opener against the Houston Texans on Sept. 7 and the Sept. 14 game against Jacksonville. He will not be allowed to attend team meetings or practices or appear at the team’s facilities for any reason during the suspension.
The sanction was levied by Troy Vincent, a longtime NFL safety who is the league’s executive vice president of football operations. Vincent ruled 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.”
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Meriweather was given a 15-yard penalty for a personal foul on the play.
“I’m trying to do what the NFL asks of me,” Meriweather said after the game. “After going through this offseason and working on the things that I need to work on, I get the first chance and it seems like I failed.”
Meriweather has previously been disciplined five times for illegal hits to defenseless players, according to league officials. His tendency to lead with his helmet — and aim for an opponent’s head — has been a point of concern since he joined the Washington team in 2012.
• Dimitri Patterson ended his puzzling absence after 48 hours, but his future with the New York Jets is uncertain.
The Jets “indefinitely” suspended the 31-year-old cornerback after he left the team Friday without contacting the organization. Neither general manager John Idzik nor coach Rex Ryan would discuss the reason for Patterson’s absence.
• Kicker Jay Feely, 38, was among 13 players released by the Arizona Cardinals. He spent the last four seasons with Arizona.
• Free-agent guard Richie Incognito, 31, met with Tampa Bay officials.
Incognito, the center of a bullying and hazing scandal involving several Dolphins linemen, was suspended by Miami for the final eight games of the 2013 season. The Bucs haven’t decided whether a workout will be involved and no contract negotiations have taken place, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
• Matt Cassel, who re-signed with Minnesota in the offseason, was named the starting quarterback for the Vikings’ regular-season opener Sept. 7 at St. Louis.
Cassel, 32, got the nod over rookie Teddy Bridgewater, a first-round draft choice from Louisville.
“Matt did not do anything to lose the job this preseason,” coach Mike Zimmer said.