Following a Sunday that saw a particularly large number of sickening, concussion-inducing hits, the NFL is expected to announce on Wednesday that helmet-to-helmet collisions will result in a suspension, according to an ESPN report. This stricter penalty would apply to first-time offenders.
This is of concern to the Patriots because on their roster is a safety named Brandon Meriweather, a fourth-year pro with a tendency of launching himself at receivers. Such was the case Sunday against the Ravens, when he was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet on a defenseless Todd Heap.
Ray Anderson, NFL's executive vice president of football operations, went on ESPN's "Mike and Mike" Tuesday morning, said that the NFL will not create new rules, but rather enforce Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8 "to the letter of the law;" it deals with hits to the head or neck.
With regard to punishment, Anderson noted that the NFL would address and further clarify the level of authority granted to referees, and said that players could be ejected from a game for an illegal hit. Suspensions without pay, he said, will also be handed out as punishment.
On NBC's "Sunday Night Football," former Patriot and infamous big-hitter Rodney Harrison -- he was fined over $200,000 during his career -- said that fines of $5,000 or $10,000 do not get the attention of NFL players; suspensions, however, would get the point across.