Reed suspension suggests “three strikes” approach for illegal hits


Former NFL safety Rodney Harrison has said for years now that the only way to change the behavior of defensive players is to suspend them for illegal hits.

The NFL did just that on Monday to Ravens safety Ed Reed.

The punishment comes in response to Reed’s third penalty for violating the rules protecting defenseless players in the past three seasons.  It suggests that, if the league intends to be consistent, any player with three violations in a three-year window will receive a one-game suspension.  NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says that the suspension does not indicate the presence of a formula, and that every case will be handled based on its own facts and circumstances.

Reed has three business days to appeal the decision to Art Shell or Ted Cottrell.  The league says that, if the appeal is filed, a decision will be reached before Sunday’s game between the Ravens and the Chargers.

The suspension, which Reed intends to appeal, will cost him $423,529.41.

We’ll have more on this at 5:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network’s Pro Football Talk, which will feature the aforementioned Rodney Harrison.

73 responses to “Reed suspension suggests “three strikes” approach for illegal hits

  1. Just take the suspension against the chargers.

    This isn’t like the bounties, where there is a question of evidence. There is plenty of tape on the 3 violations.

    If you take it now, you will miss a game that you won’t be missed, you appeal and not only will you look worse, you might be gone for a game that they need you in.

  2. Politics? I think so. Not one person in this world was thinking “Man…Ed Reed sure has been hitting with his helmet a lot, he might get suspended if he keeps it up”

  3. He deserved it. The hit he put on Sanders last night was reckless and could have been avoided. Stupid doesn’t learn until you punch it in the face. Nice right hook NFL.

  4. If this is to be…. make consistent judgements.
    Reviews should be made on plays like the Hair tackle ,called a horse collar. If the ref’s can not see the difference between the hair and the jersey make the players cut their hair. That was a big penalty that was called wrong.

  5. Greg Aiello says that the suspension does not indicate the presence of a formula, and that every case will be handled based on its own facts and circumstances.

    Just like these BS fines. Totally arbitrary.

  6. Rodney is right. Deliberate contact to the head should always result in suspension of at least one match. That hit on Cutler should have got 3weeks. That’s how it is in Rugby, but of course they don’t wear helmets.

  7. suspended for trying to go low on a guy who ducked down. no ones fault, just a bad situation. the penalty is ok but not a suspension

  8. As Steeler fan I hate this. When you have two guys running into each other while running as fast as they can it’s a bit hard for people to contort themselves to avoid an “illegal” hit. I watched this over and over and still do not believe it was intentional (the hit on Sanders). I think fines and suspensions should be handled with the proof of intent. Sickens me…Welcome to the age of powderpuff football I guess…….

  9. Haha what a joke. Both of these “helmet-to-helmet” hits were plays where the offensive player lowed his head into the hitting area. What is he supposed to do?

    I’m all for going after head hunters and players leading with the helmet, but I’m not sure I understand this one. The guy is criticized by fans and the media for not being able to hit anyone because of his shoulder. Now he’s a repeat offender? Weird.

  10. All of those receivers ducked at thelast minute to cause the helmet-to-helmet contact. A penalty? Fine. Worth a suspension? Not without conclusive proof that he was targeting their heads maliciously.

  11. I hate Reed but the hit was great, next time Clark rocks a receiver looks like he will get suspended, head shots are a part of the game and need to stay

  12. nflofficeadmin says: Nov 19, 2012 4:18 PM

    Why does ed reed have bodybuilder arms in the photo..


    Simply put most NFL players hit the weight room very hard. Sometimes the smaller guys look small on TV but I assure you they are ripped and twice as strong as they look.

  13. I don’t have a probem with the NFL policy. I do have a problem with imposing it on someone who, when he started the hit, was at shoulder level and only would up hitting the head because the reciver ducked. Reed did not launch himself and did not aim at the head.

    Is it illegal to tackle someone at shoulder level? Or do you now teach tacklers to aim much lower, so that when the receiver ducks there is less danger of hitting the head? That should work out real well.

  14. I’m a Steelers fan and I think it’s a joke. I mean, in one respect, it’s kind of funny because Ravens fans were calling Harrison dirty last year and cheering on his suspension and now they’re whining about it.

    But on the other hand, like Harrison, Reed is mostly a victim of being unable to hit a moving target in the chest. A lot of fans are right; Sanders ducked which made it impossible for Reed to avoid the hit. Of course, that’s the exact same thing that happened to Harrison in all of his hits too.

    So, it’s funny to me, but it’s bull.

  15. Ed is going to lose about a half of million dollars because of this. Is this fair for a split second decision that occurs in the game of football? So does this mean if he does it again, he’ll lose another half million dollars. How will he be able to play football with that over his head? Personally, for a half mil, I wouldn’t attempt to tackle a person if there is a split second chance that offensive player might duck and gets hit in the head. They need to re-evaluate this loss of game check situation. This will ruin the game. Nobody will tackle in the secondary.

  16. So when is Ryan Clark getting a game. Going with the formula that got Reed a game it seems Clark has a suspension coming.

    Or if a players knocks himself out on a questionable hit that hit doesn’t count?

    All joking aside, the NFL seems to be getting screwy with rules implementation over the last handful of years. Very NASCAR’esque.

  17. I’m a Steeler fan and that shouldn’t have been called. Sanders ducked after the catch to protect himself. But with that said, they are calling anything that is borderline it seems. And with the penalty that Clark got in NY for his phantom helmet to helmet in the end zone a couple of weeks ago, I’ll take it. But that wasn’t a penalty.

  18. 3 strikes n ur out Ed! He’l b out for the chargers game next week. Looks like we r headed for to be the winner in the ravens chargers game next week!! Rivers gon carve up that second dary next week. BOLT UP

  19. Rodney Harrison is right take away the game & they will learn. Ok so us fans should follow his lead & stop going to games or watching until the NFL stops taking away the game we love its tackle football not 2 hand touch or flag it’s tackle. Someone needs to fine the NFL for ruining the NFL u dont want to get hit on the head don’t lower ur head u don’t want to get hit on the head go play tennis it’s tackle football. What about when a running back lowers his head & unloads on a defender why is he not getting a fine. The NFL is getting ridiculous.

  20. Just dress all the defensive players in those big inflatable sumo outfits, and put flags on the waists of the offensive guys.

    Nanny state NFL has officially jumped the shark. No defensive player is safe. And all the little tic-tac calls the refs are making are having too big of an impact on the games.

    Safety is one thing, creating a whole new version of football is another.

  21. These players dont learn from the fines. There making millions so these little fines do nothing. The only choice is to suspend them. Plenty of players are able to follow the rules. I could understand it happening once but multiple times is another story. I love football as much as anyone and hate to see it go “soft” however it is a game in the end and its not more important than a life. Yes they get paid millions and lots of players are overpaid but there still humans and its not worth ruining there lifes. I think reed has been one of the best defensive players ever to play the game but he needs to adapt to the new rules.

  22. I dont agree with the suspension but I just think it is funny to read about how unfair it is when they are the first to put it out on others. double standard?

  23. The NFL has become borderline unwatchable. Defensive players aren’t allowed to touch any WRs or QBs unless they’re willing to pay the capricious and arbitrary fines The Great Roger Goodell Himself Live And In Person hands out.

    If it gets any worse, we’ll have as bad a product as the NBA has become, lacking only the final touch of David Stern deciding which team advances in the playoffs.

  24. Good for him. I’m a Steelers fan but I can admit that he and Ryan Clark lead pretty much every tackle with their head and go for head shots all game. Clark openly doesn’t care about his health.

  25. I guess the sport of boxing will be limiting hits to the head…millions of dollars to play touch football….

  26. Wait a minute, so he is being suspended for a third hit to the head that has occured over three seasons?

    This making up the rules and punishments as the league office wants has to stop. Ed Reed could lose almost half a million dollars for something he has done over three seasons and had no idea that he could lose this type of money for roll over penalties, this is a joke. These fines are out of control as well with no consistency. There needs to be structure to all of this so players know what is at risk for their mistakes, not just some guy in an office conjuring up numbers.

    Roger needs to get out of the game.

  27. Honestly I love football but lately I’ve noticed I have a hard time watching it with how obvious the NFL is in making it soft and making defense almost impossible to play I watched the cowboys browns game and anytime a DB touches a receiver it is a penalty it’s just boring to watch now basically just have your receiver run into a guy every play and march right on down the field

  28. Nevermind the concussion cases, some smart lawyer is going to form a class of all players who have been arbitrarily fined and suspended by this dolt commissioner. If so, I hope they CRUSH the NFL. If someone took $400K from me for doing my job, I’d be doing more than filing an appeal.

  29. Of course the NFL will crack down on the Ravens. They weren’t supposed to win last night, so something had to be blamed besides the Steelers. How many times did Harrison knock somebody out of a game? How come never a suspension to a Steeler?

  30. I love Ed, but he’s got to learn to follow the rules. Are the rules ridiculous? Probably. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have to follow them. As someone who studies neurology, I’m glad the NFL is being very strict with hits to the head/neck area. Not only is it protecting the guy who gets hit, but it also protects the guy who does the hitting as well.

    For the record, 3 upheld violations in a 3 year period sounds like a perfectly reasonable guideline for suspensions. That suggests a pattern. And I would still like to see more consistent punishments from the NFL regarding these kinds of hits. Ed Reed’s suspension is a good start.

  31. swagger52 says: Nov 19, 2012 6:49 PM

    How come never a suspension to a Steeler?

    Did you really ask that?

  32. “How many times did Harrison knock somebody out of a game?”

    No offenses since his suspension. Seems to have worked.

    “How come never a suspension to a Steeler?”

    So now we’re pretending that James Harrison never got suspended? Got it.

  33. Didnt this start with harrison last year? I think i heard the three strike thing after he got his suspension

  34. I agree with black and blue. He clearly ducked into the hit. To bring balance back to the field they should lax all the pass interference calls against the defense and allow the corners to be a little more physical with the receivers. Bring defense back to the NFL please!

  35. QB’s don’t even have to throw a 40-50 yard bomb anymore just send your receiver down by the 5 yard line and have him get incidentally touched get the ball on the 5 1st and goal its easy now ….

  36. Ed Reed is one of the last of the great warriors. A true football player. Goodell, the lawyers and the NFLPA are a joke and are ruining the game. The players talk about what great athletes they are today, if they were magically transported to an NFL game in the 60s or 70s they wouldnt know what hit them. The violence and hitting and cheap shots would unnerve them.

  37. timmons94 says:

    “Overrated Ed suspended. Bout time. For every splash play. He gets burnt or does a typical Ed reed chespshot. Guy is so overrated.”

    No, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of Troy Polamalu, but no problem. Everybody makes mistakes.

  38. I used to love football. I would watch every game every week. But now I can’t stand watching when the giants games due to these bs flags and fines. For anyone who says its about these players lives, guess what, they can walk off the field and try to find a job just like the rest of us. They CHOOSE to play football. They KNOW the risks. Now let’s let them PLAY THE GAME. If they don’t wanna get hurt they can get off the field so those who don’t care can get on the field and we can see some true NFL games again.

  39. Ed Reed overrated? Lol ok first ballot HOFer teams are afraid to throw cause he is back there…bad suspension here and Harrison shouldnt have gotten beat down like he did either…

    No more defense in the NFL

  40. It’s about time this overrated headhunter got what he deserved. Best safety in football? Please. 10 years ago…maybe.

    He should be thankful he only got one game. He deserved more for that flagrant cheap shot.


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