OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Shortly before Ravens coach John Harbaugh met with the media for his Monday press conference, the NFL announced a one-game suspension for safety Ed Reed for repeated violations of player safety rules.
The 34-year-old was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a blow to the head of Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in the third quarter of the Ravens’ 13-10 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday night. Per the NFL’s official release, Reed will be suspended one game without pay for repeated “hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players.”
According to the league, the hit on Sanders was Reed’s third violation in the last three seasons. Earlier this year, Reed hit Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch to draw a $21,000 fine. The safety also hit Saints quarterback Drew Brees in a similar fashion in 2010.
“None of those were intent to injure or harm in any way,” said Harbaugh, who admitted he was surprised to learn of the league’s decision to suspend the star player. “I think when you look at the hits, that’s pretty obvious. We all know Ed. Ed respects the game; he respects his fellow players.”
The one-game suspension without pay means Reed stands to lose approximately $423,529 of his $7.2 million base salary.
The free safety will appeal the suspension and the Ravens anticipate a decision by Wednesday in order to determine whether he will be available against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. Harbaugh described Reed’s potential absence as a “blow” to the Baltimore defense for obvious reasons.
“Ed has told us that he’s going to appeal the suspension right away,” Harbaugh said. “We should know something very soon.”
The eight-time Pro Bowl safety would not be allowed to take part in practices this week or even be present at the team’s training facility in Owings Mills. He would then be reinstated next Monday.
Reed has been critical of the league in terms of its failure to protect its players. His revelation that he was dealing with a torn labrum in his shoulder was a precursor to the Ravens being fined $20,000 for failing to list him on the injury report in the days leading into their Week 7 loss at Houston.
“He’s a good person,” Harbaugh said. “He’s got a good heart. He’s got tremendous respect for the game, and we stand behind him in that respect as a team and an organization.”
If Reed is unavailable to play against the Chargers, the Ravens would likely go with reserve safety James Ihedigbo as a starter next to Bernard Pollard in the secondary.