Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather will miss the first two games of the season after an appeal of his two-game suspension for a hit during a preseason game was denied Saturday.
It is Meriweather’s sixth violation of rules against hitting defenseless opponents in the head. Cottrell, a former NFL linebacker and longtime defensive coach in the league, had reduced a Meriweather suspension last season from two games to one, but did not reduce the defensive back’s ban this time around.
Meriweather was suspended after a personal foul was called for a hit on Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith during the Redskins’ third preseason game on Aug. 23.
He will miss Washington’s opener at Houston on Sept. 7 and the Redskins’ home opener against the Jaguars on Sept. 14.
Meriweather will be eligible to return for Washington’s game at Philadelphia on Sept. 21.
He played in 13 games for the Redskins last season, finishing with 69 tackles, a sack, two interceptions, a forced fumble and three pass breakups.
Meriweather was a first-round pick of the New England Patriots out of Miami in 2007. He played four seasons in New England, making the Pro Bowl after the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and played one year in Chicago before signing with the Redskins in March 2012.
He rejoined Washington as a free agent this spring and has been a lightning rod for controversy dating back to his collegiate days. He was at the center of an ugly brawl in an October 2006 game between Miami and Florida International, during which he was seen stomping on several FIU players.