Now Meriweather faces a hefty fine, and the Patriots face the serious possibility that they'll lose their Pro Bowl linebacker to suspension for the upcoming Chargers and/or Vikings games.
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson will make the call on this one, and he sounds inclined to throw the book at Meriweather.
Anderson appeared on ESPN's Mike & Mike on Tuesday morning, in a segment available online. He referred specifically to Meriweather's hit on Heap as, "something that in our view was flagrant, it was egregious, and effective immediately, that's going to be looked at a very aggressive level which could include suspension without pay."
"With the seriousness of the head and neck trauma and concussions generally, we've got a responsibility to just make sure players understand -- adapt," Anderson added. "We've got some of the most athletically gifted, intellectually gifted athletes in the world, and you know what? They do adapt when the rules and the lines are clear."
Meriweather seems penitent and Belichick did yank him from the game for a few plays afterward. "I'm sorry it happened, Meriweather said in a WEEI interview Monday. " Heap is actually a real good friend of mine. I talked to him yesterday and let him know it wasn't intentional and he told me he understood."
Meriweather has at least paid some debt to society already. The Patriots were assessed 15 yards for a personal foul on the play.
If that sounds paltry, consider that worse hits that caused serious concussions to Mohammed Massoquia and Josh Cribbs on Sunday were not even flagged by referees.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks the vicious the hits to the head should be saved for Yale frat boys.