Josh Wilson Stands Up For Brandon Meriweather
The comments made by Bears players over the past few days rankled the Redskins’ cornerback, who objected to claims Meriweather is dirty and should be kicked out of the league.
BY ZAC BOYER
ASHBURN – Josh Wilson defended Brandon Meriweather on Wednesday, objecting to the comments made by Bears players in recent days about Meriweather’s tackling style and the hits he made in the Redskins’ 45-41 victory on Sunday.
“He’s not a dirty guy,” Wilson said. “You wouldn’t call Steve Atwater, you wouldn’t call Ronnie Lott or John Lynch dirty guys. Those guys play football, and that’s what we grew up watching. You know, a guy comes and says he’s gonna punch you in the face, I don’t think that’s the best situation, either. I don’t agree with the players coming out against him like he’s just a bad guy, you know what I mean? He’s out there playing football.”
Wilson was referring to the comments made by Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, who called Meriweather a “scumbag” and said he wants “to punch him in the face” on a Chicago-area radio appearance on Tuesday. He also objected to Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, who was on the receiving end of one of Meriweather’s illegal hits and told reporters after the game Meriweather “needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely.”
“Brandon Marshall should be kicked out of the league for pushing off every time he gets to the top of a route,” Wilson said. “Or, every time a receiver comes in and cracks a safety, he should be kicked out of the league for hitting him. The guy that hit Reed Doughty on the kickoff [Sherrick McManis], when I could hear it from the sidelines – nobody says anything about punching him in the face. Like, come on, man. It has nothing to do with anybody trying to do anything, or having a vendetta against anybody. You know, we’re just out there trying to play football the best way we know how. Let the league decide what they’re going to do. Let the refs throw the flags and let’s play the game.”
Meriweather was suspended two games by the league on Monday for his history of hits to players’ heads and necks and has appealed that suspension.
Wilson said that while the pair of hits by Meriweather on Sunday could be seen as legal, given the perspective, he doesn’t disagree with what the league is trying to do with regards to improving player safety.
“I understand the safety,” Wilson said. “I get the safety. Yeah, I get what the league is doing. I just don’t agree with players coming out and trying to regulate the game. Let’s play the game. I understand they want to make it a better league, but I don’t think that Brandon’s a bad guy, a dirty guy or anything like that. I feel like we grew up watching guys play football, and that’s how we learned how to play football, and now we just have to adjust to what it is. It’s not that he’s trying to hurt anybody. It’s just a different way we have to play football.”
And, Wilson said, Meriweather is trying to change his tackling style.
“I can’t say that Brandon was trying to hurt anybody on any of these plays, so you know, that’s the league we live in right now, and we’ve got to understand that,” Wilson said. “You’ve just got to adjust. I feel like he is. I feel like he’s trying to be a better player [by] not doing the things that he did in the past, but sometimes, it’s hard to lose that reputation that he had.”