Just days after NFL hierarchy took away physical contact, its now dishing out gold stars to all the good little boys and girls, in the form of verbal praise.
Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, announced his contentment with a pair of last weekend’s high-hitting perpetrators, Brandon Meriweather of the Patriots and James Harrison of the Steelers.
Meriweather was hit with a $50,000 fine while Harrison was fined $75,000.
“We like to think we’re off to a good start in terms of the new emphasis and the recognition that we are going to play aggressively but well within the rules,” Anderson told The Associated Press. “It’s a good start.
“Brandon Meriweather, specifically, last week we were appropriately calling him out and chastising him,” he added. “Yesterday in the Patriots’ game at San Diego, Meriweather made two very tenacious, effective and legal hits in similar situations. But you could see it, he lowered the target area, blasted the opponent with his shoulder. He adapted, showing it can be done. It is appropriate to praise him for the tough play.”
Harrison’s Steelers were able to sneak past the Dolphins in Miami, with many league officials keeping a close eye on the outside linebacker.
“There certainly was one play, on a hit on a running back, that James Harrison may have taken a shot at the running back going down, and Harrison let up,” Anderson said. “I think he acknowledged he let up when had a chance to put his head and helmet in there. I applaud James for restraining himself.”