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Brandon Meriweather Hoping Debut Could Come Sunday Against Panthers

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

(Originally posted 10/31/12, 12:55 p.m.; Updated 10/31/12, 5:34 p.m.)

ASHBURN – Though Brandon Meriweather is aiming to make his Washington Redskins debut against Carolina on Sunday, head coach Mike Shanahan said it’s more likely Meriweather will be held out until after the bye week.

Meriweather

Meriweather, who sprained ligaments in his left knee during the preseason, was limited in practice on Wednesday – his first time participating in a week. While he wants to play against the Panthers, he’s comfortable with the idea of waiting two weeks for Philadelphia, whom the Redskins face on Nov. 18.

“I would say the chances would be after the bye,” Shanahan said. “Is there a chance? Yeah, there’s a chance, but I’d say it’s more of a long shot.”

The Redskins have their bye week following the Carolina game, which would either allow Meriweather an additional week to prepare for his debut or extra recovery time should he experience any inflammation from playing.

A two-time Pro Bowl strong safety, Meriweather’s return could give the Redskins a much-needed boost on defense. They are allowing 314.2 passing yards a game through eight weeks, by far the worst in the league, and a defense that showed a knack for being able to stop the run hasn’t had much of a chance to do so recently as teams have chosen to throw the ball.

“Whether we was the No. 1 defense or the 32nd defense, you know, I’m still gonna feel like I need to find the way to get back out there,” Meriweather said. “It’s not the fact that we’re struggling against the pass. It’s that I want to get out there with the guys I went through camp with – the guys that I look in the face every day and know that I can’t help, the guys that come in here and give their all and I’m sitting here watching. Them are the guys I want to be on the field with and the guys I want to go to work with every day.”

Meriweather originally injured the knee against Chicago, for whom he played last season, during a preseason game on Aug. 18. He then aggravated the knee in practice on Sept. 3 in what Shanahan has termed “a freak injury,” and was set to return on Sept. 30 at Tampa Bay, but he collided with receiver Aldrick Robinson before the game and landed awkwardly on the leg, causing further injury.

“If it was up to me, I would have been out there for the Tampa game, you know?” Meriweather said. “Knowing that I wasn’t 100 percent, or even 50, I would have still been out there after I re-injured it. It’s very hard for me to sit back and watch, knowing that there’s nothing I can do to help my team.”

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