BOSTON (CBS) — Late and dirty hits are a big topic around the NFL, especially in New England after Vontaze Burfict threw a few the Patriots’ way on Sunday.
The Cincinnati linebacker, a repeat offender when it comes to late hits, is awaiting word from the league on a possible suspension (though Bengals officials don’t expect one) after hitting Pats tight end Martellus Bennett low after the whistle and then stomping on running back LeGarrette Blount in the end zone late in the game.
Former Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich for his weekly interview on Wednesday, sharing his thoughts on Burfict’s actions and dirty hits in general.
“I honestly never seen someone take a cheap shot that wasn’t a lineman. Lineman take cheap shots, you know, when they cut while someone is getting blocked. Stuff that would actually hurt somebody, I had never seen anyone do it until [Sunday]. That was the first seeing it in person. I was watching the game and was like, ‘Man, did he actually do that?'” Meriweather said of Burfict stepping on Blount. “I heard about [Ndamukong] Suh stomping on someone but never saw the video. That was my first time seeing it. I couldn’t believe [Burfict] actually did it.”
Meriweather had a reputation for helmet-to-helmet hits, but doesn’t want to be associated with what Burfict was doing on Sunday.
“People keep bringing my name up; mine was in the act of a play. I was going to stop somebody, going to do my job. The way it looked on film, the ball wasn’t even thrown at Bennett and he went for his leg. Me, I would never have touched Bennett,” he said. “When I was going for someone I was going to knock the ball away; I wasn’t hitting somebody because they were running across the field.”
While he understands why the NFL is trying to eliminate helmet-to-helmet hits from the game, Meriweather doesn’t think the new rules are fair for defensive backs, and doesn’t agree with his reputation.
“I understand where the NFL is coming from. You want to stop concussions and minimize them as much as possible. If it looks hard, they call it head-to-head. A defensive player is basically winless in this. If you go out and hit somebody, and it looks hard and his head snaps back, it’s a head-to-head. Even if it ain’t, it’s considered head-to-head,” he explained.
“For us, it’s a lose-lose situation. If someone comes across the middle and sees you coming, he could ball up into a raisin and if you hit anywhere above his numbers, it’s head-to-head. I don’t think it’s fair for defensive players, but I do understand why they’re doing it,” Meriweather added.
Toucher & Rich also discussed a CD that Bill Belichick once burned for Meriweather. It turns out, the coach heard Meriweather’s single “V.I.P.” on Toucher & Rich and decided his player needed to listen to some “good” music.
“He said I needed that CD,” Meriweather explained. “I had already sent you the song, so he said he would put me together a CD of real music so I could listen to it.”
While Meriweather can’t find the CD, he did say it featured Tim McGraw, Bruce Springsteen and, of course, Bon Jovi.
“I think he and Bill might be best friends or something, because he was [at practice] a lot,” Meriweather said of Bon Jovi.
Toucher & Rich also hit Meriweather with 5 Questions — listen to the full interview below: