August 24, 2018 by adamburt13
Written by Adam Burt
In todays game of football it’s almost impossible to play with a feared enforcer in the back of your teams secondary. And a feared enforcer is exactly the term that I would use to explain former Patriot safety Brandon Meriweather. I’ve decided to jump in on Ryan Delaney’s Pats from the past series and wanted to start with a guy who is very relevant to what’s happening in the league today.
Talk about a guy who left the league just in time, Meriweather was the Patriots first round pick in 2007 and had a reputation for being a hard hitter who really didn’t seem to care about paying league fines and just went about playing the game of football the only way he knew how to. And with Rodney Harrison on his way out of the league, The Patriots knew they needed to draft a star to replace Harrison, but also one who packed a punch. Although only being with the Patriots for a few seasons, I was a huge fan of Meriweather early in his career and he is still a very memorable player in my eyes.
I still have his Patriots jersey hanging in my closet…
Meriweather had himself a pretty successful career in his days playing at The University of Miami, aka “The U.” Despite battling through injury in his early college years Meriweather ended up fighting through and becoming a star for the program in 2005-06. During both of those seasons Meriweathers efforts were enough to make him a 2x first-team all-ACC player. And to wrap up his college career he ended up leaving the program with the Miami record for most tackles by a defensive back with 293, and was also invited to the Senior Bowl.
After his successful college career at Miami, Meriweather was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft (24th OVR) and was headed to New England. In his rookie campaign during the 2007-08 season Meriweather started off as a special teamer for the Pats and played in Super Bowl 42 behind Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson. Unfortunately for Patriots fans next year during the 2008-09 season Rodney Harrison went down with a season ending injury which led to Meriweather starting the rest of the season as the teams strong safety. Which was a great opportunity for Meriweather to make a name, and thats exactly what he did. The one game that might stand out to most was a gritty late season game against the Seattle Seahawks in week 14 of that season where Meriweather recorded his first career sack to put an end to a game winning Seahawks drive. That season he wrapped up the year with 83 tackles 4 picks and 2 sacks, not bad.
Meriweather ended up becoming a 2x pro-bowler during his time in New England during the 2008 and 2009 seasons and ended up being released by the Patriots after final cuts of the pre-season in 2011. He left the Patriots with around 40,000 dollars worth of fines from helmet to helmet hits.The most memorable one against the Baltimore Ravens. After his release he was signed by the Chicago Bears in 2011, within the first 5 weeks of the regular season with Chicago Meriweather was fined 45,000 dollars again for a brutal helmet to helmet hit against Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith, and an unnecessary roughness penalty against the Detroit Lions.
After one season with the Bears Meriweather landed a 2 year deal with the Washington R words. He had a rough beginning to his career in Washington after he had to deal with a torn ACL injury. But Meriweather later returned in 2013 in a game against the Green Bay Packers and what do you know he comes back and gives cheeseburger Eddy Lacy a concussion. Then later gave himself a concussion in that game after a collision with Green Bays backup HB James Starks. You absolutely hate to see that. Following the game Meriweather was fined another 42,000 dollars for the hits. After the GB game he was suspended for illegal hits to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey of the Chicago Bears. The suspension was reduced to a game and cost Meriweather around 70,000.
So as things were starting to lean south for Meriweather. He became quite the household name in the media after making a very memorable comment during his 2013 suspension stating, “I guess I just got to start taking peoples knees out. That’s the only way. I would hate to end a guys career over a rule, but I guess it’s better other people than me getting suspended for longer. You just have to go low now man, you just got to end peoples careers. You got to tear peoples ACLs and mess up peoples knees. You can’t hit them high anymore.”
After all of this and a back and forth with the league Meriweather was re-signed to a 1 year deal with Washington again in 2014. But during the pre-season he was suspended another 2 games for a hit against Ravens WR Torrey Smith. After finishing out that season he was signed by the Giants in 2015 and that eventually led to his release. So between multiple fines and becoming one of the founding fathers of irritating the league office with targeting and helmet hits, Meriweather hasn’t played in the NFL since and theres no doubt his best playing days were during his time in New England before bouncing around and becoming one of the leagues top villains.
So I guess if there is one thing you had to remember about Meriweather as a Patriot it would be this. He was a guy who simply wasn’t going to change his game to fit the modern standard of the NFL. He was a very talented college player who seemed to play every NFL game with a chip on his shoulder. Belichick took a chance on him and for a short tenure it payed off. After getting comfortable with the league he became comparable to the Kam Chancellors of the NFL. And with the way things are in todays game, there’s absolutely no way players like that can have a successful career without paying a healthy portion of their paycheck. He was an electric presence in my personal opinion and I enjoyed everything he brought to the table in New England.