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Meriweather now viewed only as witness in shooting case

New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather can go into the new season without worrying about potential criminal charges hanging over his head.

Orange County (Fla.) police said Friday that Meriweather is no longer considered a suspect in a Feb. 28 shooting that injured two men outside a bar in Apopka, Fla., according to *The Boston Herald*.

Meriweather is still connected to the case, however, since he is considered a potential witness. Meriweather's lawyer has maintained all along that his client was nothing more than a "peacemaker" in the incident.

A police information officer said the case has been "inactivated," but is not closed. Meriweather has declined to discuss the events of the night, according to police.

Meriweather graduated from Apopka High School in 2002, then played at the University of Miami. He was selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Patriots and completed his fourth season in 2010.

This isn't the first time that Meriweather's name has been mentioned in regard to a violent incident.

In October 2006, while still at Miami, Meriweather was part of an on-field fight with several Florida International players.

About three months earlier, Meriweather fired at an alleged assailant who had shot Miami backup safety Willie Cooper outside the house the two players shared with another teammate, police said. Meriweather wasn't charged, and police said he legally used the gun, for which he had a permit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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