Goodell: Expect more suspensions

Goodell: Expect more suspensions
February 2, 2013, 1:00 am
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NEW ORLEANS – Ed Reed might not like it, but it sounds as if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t backing down when it comes to disciplining defensive players for hits on defenseless receivers. In fact, it sounds as if suspensions might become more common in the future.

Goodell, speaking on Saturday at his annual Super Bowl news conference, said, “I think it was about four years ago at this very press conference, I said, ‘We have to take these hits out of the game that we think have a higher risk of causing injuries.’ The focus was on defenseless players, and I stand by our record because I think we have made those changes and made the game safer.”

Reed, who blasted Goodell earlier in the week for excessive fines this season, was  suspended for one game in December for a hit on Pittsburgh receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The league at the time cited Reed as a repeat offender, with three hits in the past three years to the head or neck area of a defenseless player.

Reed appealed the suspension, and the penalty was reduced to a $50,000 fine with no suspension.

Goodell made clear, though, that the league will continue to go after repeat offenders when it comes to such hits.

“I think we’re going to have to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders,” Goodell said.

“Suspension gets through to them,” he said, adding, “We’re going to continue to emphasize the importance of following those rules. When there are violations, we will escalate the discipline.”