Ed Reed expressed relief over a decision by an appeals officer to overturn a one-game suspension and reduce the fine for a helmet-to-helmet hit to $50,000, but he’s not content with what happened. His teammates aren't either.
Tuesday, Ted Cottrell, the hearing officer Reed’s appeal, mostly agreed that the initial penalty was too severe for his hit on receiver Emmanuel Sanders in Sunday’s 13-10 win vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. Reed, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, team President Dick Cass, Vice President Pat Moriarty and representatives for the NFL Players Association were on the conference call.
"The rules have changed a whole lot since I’ve been in the league. Over my career I’ve never been that guy. Don’t plan on being that guy. It’s a shame that it even came to this point," Reed said while distributing turkeys with teammates at Booker T. Washington Middle School in Baltimore on Tuesday. "Just great support on both sides. I’m just thankful to have those people speak up for me. … All those people who speak up for you and know you and know the way you play the game."
Cottrell is jointly appointed and compensated by the players association to hear and decide appeals for on-field player discipline. It was the third time in three seasons that Reed was flagged for such a hit that initially triggered the penalty. If the suspension would’ve have been upheld, Reed wouldn’t have been able to be at the Ravens’ practice facility all week and he would’ve missed Sunday’s game at the San Diego Chargers. It would've cost him $423,000 in salary.
"I know as well as I can do the hitting somebody else can too. I have football camps. I’m not teaching that to my kids,” Reed said.
"This is not over between myself and the league. A lot needs to be done because it is about safety. It is about protecting the players. It’s something that us as players have to police also but at the same time we grew up watching the game a certain way and playing it a certain way. It is tackle football. It is a contact sport. And a brutal one at that … It comes with the territory. … Guys are going to have concussions. If you want to stop it, then stop the game."
Cornerback Cary Williams, who also was at the charity event, believes the NFL was mistaken to try to make an example out of Reed.
"We got our field general back. Regardless of what happened, if they wanted to make an example it's the wrong guy. He’s not a guy that’s making malicious hits, trying to take someone’s head off," Williams said. "He’s a ballhawk."
Anquan Boldin seconded Williams' remarks.
"It was only right. Ed’s not one of those guys. He’s never been that type of guy to go out and intentionally hurt somebody," he said. "He’s been a clean football players. That’s why they overturned it."