Two players disciplined by the NFL for physical play fought back in the media Monday.
Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather said he’ll “take peoples’ knees out” to avoid another suspension for hits to the head, while Carolina Panthers free safety Mike Mitchell said he’s being “targeted” by Commissioner Roger Goodell after receiving his fifth fine of the season from the NFL for taunting.
It was Meriweather’s first day back with Washington after a one-game suspension for multiple helmet-first hits against defenseless receivers, including two in a win over the Bears last week.
Asked if he plans to change how he plays, Meriweather said: “I guess I’ve just got to take people’s knees out. I’d hate to end a guy’s career over a rule, but I guess it’s better (for something to happen to) other people than me getting suspended for longer. “You’ve just got to go low now. ... You can’t hit ’em high anymore.”
Meriweather also took a shot at Chicago WR Brandon Marshall, saying “people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league.” Marshall, who has had domestic violence arrests but no convictions, last week said players such as Meriweather should be “taken out of the game completely” to make it safer.
Mitchell was fined $7,875 last week by the league for taunting after he shoved Rams quarterback Sam Bradford out of bounds during a game on Oct. 20. Bradford suffered a season-ending knee injury on the play. Mitchell wasn’t penalized for taunting in the game.
“I’m being targeted because I play football physical, but I’m not out here cheap-shoting guys ... like I’ve seen people from Detroit do,” Mitchell said.
• Case Keenum will start at quarterback in place of a healthy Matt Schaub when the Texans host Indianapolis on Sunday night and try to end a five-game losing streak. Coach Gary Kubiak said the decision was not for the rest of the season, but is geared toward keeping the team going in the right direction after a 17-16 loss to Kansas City in which Keenum played well.
• Return specialist Travis Benjamin, one of Cleveland’s top playmakers and one of the NFL’s best punt returners, tore his anterior cruciate knee ligament in Sunday’s loss at Kansas City and will miss the rest of the season.
• Oakland defensive coordinator Jason Tarver apologized for making an obscene gesture directed at officials and will be disciplined by the team. Tarver was caught on television using the one-finger gesture after a flag that was eventually picked up.