Green Bay Packers rookie running back, Eddie Lacy, is showing progress in evaluations but is unlikely to start for the Packers this week against the Cincinnati Bengals. Although head coach Mike McCarthy has not ruled Lacy out, it is unlikely the former Alabama star will return to action before week 5. The Packers have a bye in week 4.
Lacy was knocked out at the end of his first carry, a ten yard gain, in Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. No flag was thrown after the hit, but Redskin Brandon Meriweather was fined $42,000 by the league for the blow to the head. Meriweather later knocked himself out of the game after leading with his head in a tackle against Lacy’s replacement, James Starks.
Brandon Meriweather has been fined for similar dangerous actions in previous seasons. In 2010, as a member of the New England Patriots, he was fined $50,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Carolina Panther Todd Heap. In 2011, he was again fined $20,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Steve Smith of the Baltimore Ravens. One week later, he was fined $25,000 for a blatant late hit against the Detroit Lions.
Former Bears receiver and current sportscaster Tom Waddle was critical of Meriweather’s style of play, “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.”
Helmet-to-helmet tackles have come under increased scrutiny in recent seasons, largely due to health concerns and the unknown long term consequences of concussions. This past week, Alabama player Ha’Sean “HaHa” Clinton-Dix was flagged for an unintentional blow to the head while trying to intercept a pass. He was nearly ejected after the call and the ruling had to be overturned on review. Experts expect the NFL to err on the side of caution with Lacy and give him a few extra days to recover.
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