Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed dodged a one-game suspension on Tuesday for illegal hit to the head. Instead, Ed Reed’s penalty has been reduced to a $50,000 fine, which brings him back on the active list for Sunday’s matchup against the San Diego Chargers.
Ed Reed’s initial suspension by the NFL raised a lot of eyebrows around the league, since he doesn’t have the reputation of a dirty player even if the record holds him accountable for other illegal hits as well.
NFL vice president of Football operations Merton Hanks slapped Ed Reed with a one-game suspension without pay on Monday after being called out for his third violation of the league’s rule on helmet-to-helmet hit against defenseless players in three seasons.
During the past Sunday’s 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ed Reed made hit to rival receiver Emmanuel Sanders’ head and neck region.
After the NFL rolled out a quick suspension possibly in the hopes of sending out a message to others, given Ed Reed’s recognition as the league’s elite defensive player, the Baltimore Ravens strongly reacted to the penalty.
"None of those [previous hits] were with intent to injure or to harm in any way. When you look at the hits, that’s pretty obvious," stated Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, after the NFL cited Ed Reed’s previous helmet-to-helmet hits in its initial announcement of suspension on Monday. “We all know Ed. Ed respects the game. He respects his fellow players."
Even Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark and Emmanuel Sanders’ teammate believed that Ed Reed didn’t intentionally try to injure the receiver. New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who previously coached Ed Reed as a defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens, felt that Ed Reed would never stoop so low.
Twitter also joined the many tools utilized to revert Ed Reed’s suspension, and as of Tuesday afternoon the hashtag #FreeEdReed was trending locally.
Ed Reed’s suspension was reduced to a fine in an expedite hearing over conference call on Tuesday morning, with former NFL defensive coach Ted Cortell serving as the arbitrator on the matter. The NFLPA also represented Ed Reed in his appeal to the suspension.
“I have determined that your actions were egregious and warrant significant discipline,” Ted Cortell later wrote to Ed Reed after reducing his suspension to a fine. “However, I do not believe that your actions were so egregious as to subject you to a one-game suspension without pay.”
“Player safety is the league’s primary concern in the formation of playing rules and all players are expected to adhere to those rules or face disciplinary action,” continued Ted Cortell. “I hope in the future you will focus on ensuring that your play conforms to the rules.”
Hopefully, now the Baltimore Ravens won’t have an overriding defensive advantage in their road trip to
“The league has an appeal process to review situations like this, and Ed had his opportunity to answer questions about his play,” Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome immediately released in a statement after NFL’s ruling for the fine.
“I think John (Harbaugh) and his coaches do an excellent job of teaching the right, safe and legal way to play football,” added Ozzie Newsome, “and we believe Ed clearly tries to play within the rules on every down.”