Tom Waddle played in the NFL. He was like the annoying kid you couldn't catch in a game of tag, only because it seems like he caught everything thrown his way and took some big hits for it. Yet he still held on to the ball. The guy was like a human pinata.
During an interview on ESPN 1000 on the Waddle & Silvy show which he co-hosts, Waddle took the time to lash out at Chicago Bears safety Brandon Meriweather for being a dirty player.
"I don't approve of the way he plays the game," Waddle said. "And you can call me a sissy all you want. OK? I was on the receiving end of a lot of head-to-head hits. And maybe it's the reason I act the way I do. But in football there are going to be moments when a guy is trying to make a tackle and his helmet hits yours. It's going to happen, and in today's game you're going to get flagged for it. And that's the way it is.
"Intent, to me, means a lot. If you make helmet-to-helmet contact and you're just trying to play good, solid NFL football and you get flagged I'll give you a pass. You have to be aware of it, maybe you need to work on your tackling technique, get the head to the side and wrap your arms, but I can give you a pass. When I interpret the way you go about your job that you have the intent to hurt somebody, I've got no time for you. I've got no place for you. The game's got no place for you."
"He's going to hurt himself, and he's going to hurt someone else because of the intent," said Waddle, who played for the Bears from 1989-94. "And maybe that intent is not in his heart. I don't know Brandon. I haven't had a discussion with him. But it sure looks by the way he plays the game that the intent isn't to put a big hit on someone and legally knock them out, it's to hurt someone."
"I didn't watch Brandon Meriweather on a week-to-week basis in New England," said Waddle, who also is an analyst for the NFL Network. "I thought the signing of Brandon Meriweather was a good idea. You were weak at safety, had some issues, you had some injuries. [Bears general manager Jerry Angelo] gave him over $3 million to come in.
"I did not realize how undisciplined a player Brandon Meriweather was. He comes with two Pro Bowls. And he came with a lot of interceptions. But ... red flag goes up when a guy like Bill Belichick decides to let you go."
"I'm giving [Meriweather] a shorter leash because I don't approve of the way he plays the game," Waddle said. "The game is vicious enough. If you're a player whose intent is to hurt another member of your football fraternity ... the Brian Urlacher hit on Tony Scheffler yesterday was clean. It was a clean hit, he led with his shoulder. I've got no problem with Brian Urlacher. I thought that hit was legit. Brian Urlacher -- if his intent was to hurt or maim -- he would have dropped his head and led with his head.
"What Brandon does is he leads with his helmet all the time. There's no place in the game, brother, at this particular time for that. It's vicious enough. And when your intent, in my humble opinion, is to hurt or maim, I've got no time for you, and I don't think the game's got any place for you."
I guess Meriweather gives him flashbacks of Andre Waters trying to take out someone's knees.
Seriously, Waddle took his share of hits so I would think he'd be somewhat of an authority on what is a clean shot and a dirty play. He definitely said a mouthful and shouldn't have flamed Meriweather this bad, but if the shoe fits, you know the rest. Maybe that was something Bill Belichick knew already and quickly jettisoned Meriweather much to everyone's surprise.
If you ask Patriots fans they would tell you that they're glad he's gone and would agree with Waddle's assessment of Meriweather. They would also say that he's a detriment to his own teammates when going for the big hit.