NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent defended him levying a two-game suspension to Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather on Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith.
“Brandon has been someone that has been in this particular [situation] multiple times,” Vincent told NFL Network. “We've just cited the four or five most recent. But in this particular case, Brandon hit a player in that area that we consider a very sensitive area, which is that head and neck area. So we went back from 2009 to current, and this is technique that we want to remove from the game.”
Meriweather is appealing his suspension.
“I'm going back to 2009 in Brandon's situation — and just looking at the progression, what we've seen, there has been no altering in his play, his style of play,” Vincent said.
Redskins safety Ryan Clark ripped Vincent, a former NFL cornerback.
“It's tough,” Clark said. “You get a guy who played ball, even though I think Troy Vincent played it softly, he didn't play as aggressive and violent as Brandon. Maybe that's part of it, not having that mindset. It's just sad.”
“And frankly, some of the acts are impermissible: the helmet-to-helmet blows, hitting in that head, that shoulder and neck area, are impermissible,” Vincent said. “We want to remove that from the game, and we want to protect Brandon himself, and we want to protect his opponents from unnecessary risks.”
Smith has said he doesn't think Meriweather should have been suspended.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun