The Steelers have demonstrated a clear double standard of late as to players who get in trouble off the field. When receiver Cedrick Wilson allegedly roughed up his girlfriend, he was cut. When linebacker James Harrison allegedly did the same thing, excuses were made on Harrison’s behalf.
It’s a common dynamic in sports. Teams make examples out of guys they deem replaceable. A separate set of rules applies to the stars.
And there’s where kicker Jeff Reed comes in. He arguably blew the game for the Steelers in Soldier Field on Sunday, missing twice in the fourth quarter. In the offseason, he was arrested for beating up a paper towel dispenser.
At the time, the Steelers gave him a pass. If he keeps missing key kicks, the incident could resurface as partial justification for giving him boot.
“Of course this is uncharacteristic of him,” coach Mike Tomlin
said. “He just kicked the game-winner in overtime last week, and that’s
what we’re used to. We aren’t used to what happened with him today.”
Though it’s highly unlikely that the Steelers will dump Reed after only one bad game, we’ll be interested to see whether they fire a shot across the bow by bringing a couple of free agents to the practice facility on Tuesday to see how they swing their legs.
And if Reed doesn’t turn it around quickly, he likely won’t be around for his seven-year anniversary with the team in November, when he got a chance in 2002 due in part to the fact that the guy who had the job at the time wasn’t very good at it.