Chicago Bears safety Brandon Meriweather is trying to reinvent himself. Instead of the big hittting, head leading tackles he's used to making, he might be willing to change to keep a job.
Meriweather told the Chicago Tribune that he vows to reform the way he plays. That remains to be seen, but after being nailed for fines and being benched, the message might be actually sinking in.
"Apparently I need to fix something if (the NFL) is concerned about my hits," Meriweather told the Tribune. "I have to change it, or else I'm going to keep getting fined. Eventually if you get enough fines, you're going to end up getting kicked out the league. For me to continue to do something I love, I just have to change the way I play."
If the Bears' coaches have been telling you that, a buzzer should've went off in your head. I'm sure the Patriots coaches told you the same thing.
"Everybody told me that," he said. "It's not necessarily what they said, but how they said it. People have told me before that I had to change my ways. I've been trying. It's just something you can't do overnight."
No it won't happen overnight, but you've had plenty of time to change. Maybe you should've seen what Pittsburgh's James Harrison has been going through and taken a cue.
Meriweather, in his fifth season, was fined $20,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Panthers receiver Steve Smith in Week 4. He appealed the fine because he thought it was a legal hit. Then Meriweather was fined $25,000 last week for a late hit on Lions receiver Nate Burleson.
On the Burleson hit he said "he didn't hear the whistle".
Last year while a starter for the Patriots, Meriweather was fined $50,000 for a pair of hits on Ravens tight end Todd Heap in the same game. The fine later was reduced to $40,000.
Meriweather's career is in jeopardy but not because of the way he hits. His bigger problem is that he can't cover very well and in the new rules NFL all defensive backs have to be able to stay with receivers, even the safeties. Meriweather's problem is that he's a man who was born too late. He's an old-time, big-hitting safety in a new world where safeties have to be as nimble as corners. And that he won't be able to change. The Patriots finally realized that and the Bears are in the process of learning that as well. If Meriweather could cover, he wouldn't have been benched, penalties be damned. Meriweather's being benched because receivers are blowing by him way too often.