Ed Reed’s suspension is reduced to $50,000 fine


It’s been a crazy 24 hours for Ravens safety Ed Reed.

On Monday afternoon, the NFL suspended him for one game for his third illegal hit against a defenseless player in three season.  On Tuesday afternoon, former NFL assistant coach Ted Cottrell reduced the suspension to a $50,000 fine.

Said Cottrell in the letter to Reed:  “I have determined that your actions were egregious and warrant significant discipline.  However, I do not believe that your actions were so egregious as to subject you to a one-game suspension without pay. P layer 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.  I hope in the future you will focus on ensuring that your play conforms to the rules.”

In the interim, the appeal was filed and the hearing was held and the decision was made quickly enough to allow Reed to miss not a single snap of practice.

The speed with which everything transpired makes us wonder whether the NFL simply wanted to get the attention of players by issuing the suspension, with every expectation that the suspension would be overturned.  Reed’s name recognition and lack of reputation as a big hitter helped send the message; the dramatically expedited appeal process ensured that Reed and the Ravens would suffer no competitive disadvantage.

Of course, Reed still loses $50,000.  But that’s a lot less than the $423,000 game check he would have lost.

As a result, Reed will be available to face the Chargers on Sunday.  And the appeal process, which many players regard as futile, worked.

68 responses to “Ed Reed’s suspension is reduced to $50,000 fine

  1. What a joke. The NFL has just lost whatever credibility they had left to their disciplinary process.

    If they’re not going to suspend Reed for a hit as clearly flagrant as the one he made Sunday, then no player can ever be suspended again.

  2. NFL officials are starting to look like a bunch of idiots. first they suspend and then they say oops never mind. while i believe he should not have been suspended, i just wish they would get it right.

  3. You have got to be kidding me. If they wanted to make an example do it with the first player you suspend not the second. Do people still think James Harrison isn’t held to a different set of standards?

  4. Dirtiest player in the league gets away with another cheap shop. If that was some no name guy that wouldn’t be reduced. So he’ll be out there next week going after heads and knees again.

  5. Queue the Ravens haters….no way he deserved to be suspended for events that happened over 3 seasons. I am shocked it was overturned and can only imagine that Goodell is a bit “puckered” right now.

  6. Reed did nothing to merit a fine, suspension, anything – and I’m a Pittsburgh fan.

    And even the thought they could dredge up b.s. from 2010 and years prior is ludicrous.

    Unreal. The Goodell NFL is really leaving a bad taste in some of our mouths.

  7. Until the NFL removes the facemask/changes the material of the helmet these penalties, fines, miss-interpretations of the game will continue.

    Do us all a favor write in rules, through evidence, that calculates the risk of playing football similarly as we calculate the risk of capital investments. Crippling and damaging results can and will happen.

    But until then, taking ‘action’ through fines and suspensions is the only way the NFL can avoid lawsuits by players in the upcoming years.

  8. The game is played too fast for everyone to be perfect or even near perfect.

    Every single person who has played this game has drilled someone in the head and didn’t necessarily mean for that to happen.

    Every single person who has played this game has been drilled by a teammate in the head that is usually equal or worse than any hit incurred by a member of the other team.

    There is no answer when people lead with a (weapon) helmet. Get rid of the helmet or put a sponge on the outside. It was designed to prevent injuries but we know how that turned out…

  9. If they’re not going to suspend Reed for a hit as clearly flagrant as the one he made Sunday, then no player can ever be suspended again

    Flagrant baloney. Sanders lowered his head just before the hit. What was Ed supposed to do. This was the right decision, I applaud the NFL.

    The ones they SHOULD be targeting are the real headhunters, in the Steeler defensive backfield. Clark and Mundy. Wasn’t Mundy the one that took Heyward-Bey’s head off a few weeks ago?

  10. Really makes you think about the Saint’s bounty fiasco. We see that the NFL can change their mind, if Goodell isn’t involved that is. He can’t do the right thing when he makes a mistake I guess.

  11. Sure hope they send a refund check to #92 in Pittsburgh.

    This ruling is a JOKE!!! Helmet-to-helmet is helmet-to-helmet. Intentional or not it happened and it’s HIS responsibility to ensure it doesn’t happen. That’s what #92’s been told.

  12. If the league had solid principles it would leave db’s alone and penalize qb’s for putting their receivers in defenseless situations.

  13. I gotta agree with everyone who said the NFL has become a joke. It reminds me of the parent that says “I’m not gonna tell you again!” umpteen million times, until not even they, take themselves seriously…….

  14. The Arbiter is jointly employed by the NFL and NFLPA so there is not supposed to be any bias in the review of a ruling. It’s not the NFL changing it’s mind, it’s the NFL getting overruled.

  15. “The speed with which everything transpired makes us wonder whether the NFL simply wanted to get the attention of players by issuing the suspension, with every expectation that the suspension would be overturned.”

    Are you serious??

    You give the League too much credit.

  16. ragingyinzer says:
    Nov 20, 2012 4:06 PM
    What a joke. The NFL has just lost whatever credibility they had left to their disciplinary process.

    If they’re not going to suspend Reed for a hit as clearly flagrant as the one he made Sunday, then no player can ever be suspended again.
    I’d love to hear your justification of “clearly flagrant” when Sanders lowered his head/shoulders into Reed who otherwise would’ve been in position for a chest-level hit.

  17. I think players should only be suspended if they blatantly targeted a guy’s head. A guy who leaves his feet and lunges vertically at a receiver’s head is pretty obvious.

    I do have to ask why was Harrison not treated the same way? Both Reed and Harrison were suspended for being repeat offenders. Neither hit that got them suspended was egregious. Reed went up high on a receiver who’s body was coming down after the catch and Harrison hit a running QB who flipped the ball away at the last possible second. What’s the deal NFL?

  18. Although displinary action must be applied here, Reed makes $ 423,00.00 a game, and really, should the punishment cost him that much? Seems kind of out of line, that may be the reason for the $ 50,000.00 instead.

  19. First we beat the Steelers. The league must have thought Reed played for the steelers as these are the type of reverese discipline and benevolent calls that usually only go to the black and gold!

  20. I’m seeing more and more of these flags for hits to the head where there was no way the defender could have done anything about it. The defender comes in leading with a shoulder at chest height and when the receiver braces for impact he lowers his head right into the shoulder. I’ve seen some where the defender is at waist height or below and still hits the receiver’s head as they dive or stumble after the catch. What can they do about that?

  21. “You’re suspended one game ($400,000)”–NFL flexing its muscle.

    “Alright, you’re not suspended, instead, you’re fined $50,000.”–NFL trying to appear magnanimous and reasonable.

    But, do the players understand the penalty of multiple violations over multiple seasons? Is it 3 strikes and you’re out or not.

  22. The call was a joke
    The fact that all onus is on the defender is beyond ridicules. If on we’re to look at action in a mon bias manner the diminutive Emmanuel Lewis should be fined for lowering his head.

    But o players aren’t held to the same physics defying standards D players are held to.

  23. Typical overreaction by the NFL.
    Suspend them! No just fine them.

    Except when the player has a Fleur de Lis on their helmet.

  24. Ed Reed plays football the way it was meant to be played. We all know this. He a true first ballot HOF player. The fine is appropriate, Reed gets to play, and all is right with the Ravens sitting alone atop the AFCN with no team in sight.

  25. This isn’t exactly the first time a suspension/fine has been reduced or eliminated on appeal. Goodell and the other arbitrators have a track record of doing so.

    Makes one wonder what might have happened if the bounty players had acted as professionally as Reed and participated in their appeals.

  26. Anybody who has seen the videos of Reed’s hits can tell that at times the guy is just straight headhunting!

    When your forearm is aimed repeatedly at player’s necks and helmet, that means you know what you’re doing, and it’s down right dirty!

    Just like Hines Ward was one of the filthiest players when it came to cheapshots, Ed Reed can and should refrain from leading with a forearm shiver.

    Look, hardnosed football is the way it’s supposed to be played, but blindsiding a guy from the side… You can hit the carrier below the neck and still dislodge the ball.

    Reed needs to be reeled in…
    If not, somebody is not going home upright one day and might never walk on his own again…

  27. Any fool can see that Reed actually turns his head AWAY from the guy’s helmet to try to avoid it. Good call, Cottrell. And I have 0 love for the Ravens, but fair is fair and right is right.

  28. To the man who said clearly flagrant and was a Steelers fan think with your head and not with your heart before you put your name to your thoughts.

    Problem is that the league has no written rules for this scenario. They have birthed their own problem on this one. You can’t make things up on the fly and decide a guy is suspended for a game or not. If it’s three strikes within a certain period of time then write that and stick to it. Until you can lay out a time period don’t complain about hits that happen over an unspecified period.

  29. When you lower your head to lead with the crown of your helmet, aim for the opposing player’s head and pin your arms to your side as you launch upward to deliver the hit, THAT is a flagrant hit, arguably delivered with intent to injure. And that is exactly what Reed did to Sanders on Sunday.

    Anybody who watches the video and thinks otherwise is watching the game through purple colored glasses.

  30. So now defenders are supposed to recognize in fractions of a second if the ball carrier is going to duck or not?

  31. So let me get this straight. James Harrison gets suspended a year ago for multiple helmet to helmet hits and that’s ok. I still believe this is turning into a game for sissies, but the rules are what they are. Then a year later Ed Reed gets suspended for THE EXACT SAME THING and the entire league is shocked and appalled and within a day his suspension is reduced to a fine. I though helmet to helmet contact was a violation regardless of intent. That’s what Harrison was told in his appeal. Amazing. The NFL is obviously run by a good ole boy network at this point.

  32. Can we have someone from the NFL explain the various levels of “egregious”?

    This is entirely new – where in the rulebook or guidelines is there a delineation? A Little Bit Egregious, Somewhat Egregious, Egregious, Very Egregious and Totally Egregious?

    And I ask for the umpteenth time – who is keeping track of fines and penalties? How does one know who is on the edge of suspension? Who is in charge?

  33. Goodell can’t miss a chance to showboat. Those thousands of lawsuits are on the horizon. He’s pulling out all the tricks to show how concerned he is for player safety and to protect the owners pocketbooks. I hope the plaintiffs attorneys are going to bring up the Thursday Night games as a direct contradiction to Goodells so called concern for player safety.
    Can’t have it both ways Roger. Or maybe you can. A phony to the end.

  34. Steeler fans that compare this to James Harrison….really? First, Ed Reed did not launch himself into Sanders. James Harrison launched himself into McCoy. Harrisons intent is to hurt. The same way Ward always did.
    And as for the steeler fan that mentioned Ed Reed back out this weekend going after knees….look at your own 43. That is all he knows.

  35. stupid. ravens should pay the fine to him for playing well.

    Does the league also not realize that some fans love big defensive plays too and not just boring untouched offensive touchdowns and flag football?

  36. Baltimore is not in the deep south, it is pretty close to the nations capitol, Roger Goodell breaks bread with these people and can’t be expected to push for a harsh suspension. That is reserved for New Orleans. If one Saint had leveled one hit during the 2009-2011 era as hard as Reed’s, which wasn’t even that hard itself, they would be banned for life from the game.

  37. Harrison multiple “illegal” hits in one year…Ed Reed 3 “illegal”hits over three years. Don’t compare Reed’s situation to Harrison’s. While I believe some of Harrison’s calls were petty…

  38. People seem to be forgetting that Ed Reed has a serious neck condition and the wrong hit in that area, could injure him as well. He was clearly going for a hit to the waist/chest area, when the momentum of the receiver making the catch brought his helmet down to that level.

  39. I am all for making the game safer but they need to start holding offensive players accountable as well. It takes two to make a collision and putting all of the blame on the defensive players who have to target an ever shrinking moving window while moving at 100 miles per hours is rediculous.

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