How Brandon Meriweather deals with head-hunter rep

He knew it was coming, which is why Brandon Meriweather smiled and nodded his head. The newest Giants player was asked about his reputation as a head-hunter.

“How did I know that was coming up?’’ Meriweather said Monday afternoon before practice. “Can we get them out of the way now, go ahead so we can leave ‘em alone for the rest of the year?’’

Entering his eighth NFL season and joining his fourth team, Meriweather has been suspended twice by the league for illegal hits and has violated the NFL’s rules against hitting defenseless opponents in the head six times, costing him more than $100,000 in fines.

Is he a changed man?

“I think every player you ever ask will say you play your game the way you play your game,’’ Meriweather said. “Do you play within the rules? Yes. When they make new rules, do you have to adjust a little bit? Yes. So I’m gonna play my game the way I play my game, but I’m also going to respect the rules.’’

In two weeks, the Giants face the Jets in their annual preseason meeting, meaning Meriweather will take the field opposite Jets receiver Brandon Marshall. Back in 2013, Marshall suggested Meriweather be thrown out of the league because of his vicious hits.

“Guys like that really don’t understand that there is life after football,” said Marshall, then with the Bears. “I respect the league trying to better our game, and guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely.”

Meriweather, 31, anticipated being asked about Marshall, too.

He laughed.

“Listen, man, that’s in the past,’’ said Meriweather, who was on the Redskins at the time. “I’m not one of those guys to hold grudges. I let things go. That’s in the past. He might be holding a grudge, I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to him. But no, I forgot about that a long time ago.’’

Linebacker Jon Beason played four years with Meriweather at the University of Miami and declared his former Hurricane teammate can make an immediate impact.

“I think every player can make an immediate impact,’’ Meriweather said. “What your impact is is depending on you and depending on the coaching staff and what they expect from you.’’

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