Tough for NFL to make case about Reed

Tough for NFL to make case about Reed
November 19, 2012, 11:15 pm
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Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed (20) in pass coverage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field.

(Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE)

In order for the NFL to consider Ravens safety Ed Reed a serial offender in the realm of illegal hits to the head and deserving of the one-game suspension he was dealt on Monday, the league had to reach back two years.

In addition to an earlier shot to the Patriots’ Deion Branch this season, the NFL’s news release mentions a hit he laid on Saints quarterback Drew Brees in December 2010, which drew a penalty and a fine.

That constitutes a pattern worthy of suspension? Reed isn’t exactly James Harrison. Or, when it comes to delivering wild blows from the safety position, Reed isn’t Troy Polamalu either.

When you think of Reed and you think of why he’s put together a Hall of Fame career, it isn’t about knocking opposing receivers senseless. Reed is, to use an old football phrase, a ballhawk. As announcers are wont to say, the ball always seems to find him —which is just the backward way of saying that he finds the ball.

The image of Reed is plucking an interception or scooping up a fumble and heading off on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in pursuit of the end zone.

That’s Ed Reed — not some headhunter. And no NFL discipline is going to change that.