Only a day after a one-game suspension was announced for Ravens safety Ed Reed, the NFL had a change of heart on Tuesday.
Following Reed’s appeal, the league lifted the suspension and instead elected to fine Reed $50,000 for violations of player safety rules. This means the All-Pro safety will be allowed to play this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
In a teleconference with league arbitrator Ted Cottrell, Reed was joined by general manager Ozzie Newsome and team president Dick Cass in the appeal process in which the safety was able to answer questions about his play. Cottrell ruled in a letter that Reed’s actions were “egregious and warrant significant discipline,” but the former NFL defensive coordinator determined a one-game suspension was not appropriate.
“I do not believe that your actions were so egregious as to subject you to a 1-game suspension without pay,” Cottrell wrote.
Reed had faced a one-game suspension without pay, which would have cost the 11-year safety approximately $423,529 of his $7.2 million base salary for the 2012 season. Had the suspension been upheld, Reed would not have been allowed at the team’s Owings Mills facility until being reinstated next Monday.
“We will agree to disagree on what was the appropriate discipline, but certainly Ed Reed was identified as one who violated our rules and is being disciplined accordingly for it,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson told the NFL Network. “In our judgment, it was time to sit Ed down because, in our minds, the monetary discipline was not being effective.
“The combination of three of those [illegal hits] certainly, in our mind, justified suspension. We hope that going forward, Ed will really strive to play within the rules [and] hopefully change his technique a little bit, so we can avoid these situations altogether.”
Reed was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter of the Ravens’ 13-10 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday night. It was his third incident of that nature in the last three seasons, hitting Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch earlier this season and Saints quarterback Drew Brees in 2010.
“I think John [Harbaugh] and his coaches do an excellent job of teaching the right, safe and legal way to play football,” Newsome said in a statement released by the team. “We believe Ed clearly tries to play within the rules on every down.”