The Ravens’ ever-changing secondary could lose another key piece for this Sunday’s game at the San Diego Chargers.
The NFL notified the Ravens that safety Ed Reed would be suspended for one game because of three illegal hit penalties to the head and neck in the since 2010. Reed will contest the penalty.
"He’s going to appeal the suspension right away," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We should know something very soon. … We should have a decision by Wednesday."
Reed was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty in the third quarter of Sunday’s 13-10 victory at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Reed hit Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders after he made a 20-yard catch. The ball was moved to the Ravens’ 12 but the Steelers had to settle for a field goal for the final points of the game.
Reed was hit with the same penalty in Week 3 vs. the New England Patriots when he leveled then-receiver Deion Branch at the end of the third quarter. Reed and Branch quickly exchanged pats on the helmet after the play.
"None of those were (intended) to injure or harm in any way. When you look at the hits that’s pretty obvious," Harbaugh said. "We all know Ed. Ed respects the game. He respects his fellow players…. We stand behind him.
"I was very surprised. I didn’t see that one coming."
If the suspension is upheld, Reed wouldn't be allowed to practice or be at the Ravens' facilities in addition to sitting out the road game in San Diego. He would be reinstated a week from today.
“We cannot tolerate repeated violations of rules, especially rules related to player safety,” Ray Anderson, NFL executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement. “We will continue to take the strongest possible action to deter these types of violations and protect our players.”
The Ravens already are without cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (knee) and Jimmy Smith, who could return from groin surgery by season's end.
Cornerback Chris Johnson, who was signed last week and played a key role in the victory vs. Pittsburgh, strained hamstring and only lasted six snaps. Johnson forced the first turnover of the game that led to the Ravens’ first points.
Johnson’s injury isn’t deemed serious. He left the team Monday to return home to Dallas to pack up more of his belongings.