One day after the NFL decided to suspend Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed for "repeated violations" of player safety rules, appeals officer Ted Cottrell reduced the penalty to a $50,000 fine, the league announced. Cottrell held a telephone hearing this morning involving both Reed and the NFL Players Association to review Reed's third helmet-to-helmet hit against a defenseless receiver in three seasons.
The latest incident occurred on Sunday night, when Reed was penalized for a hit on Pittsburgh Steelers' wideout Emmanuel Sanders. In a letter to Reed, Cottrell wrote that the hit did not warrant a suspension, which would have cost Reed $423,529 in salary.
“I have determined that your actions were egregious and warrant significant discipline. However, I do not believe that your actions were so egregious as to subject you to a one-game suspension without pay. Player safety is the league’s primary concern in the formation of playing rules and all players are expected to adhere to those rules or face disciplinary action. I hope in the future you will focus on ensuring that your play conforms to the rules.”
The decision comes as a surprise to many who view the appeals process as a mere formality. CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman tweeted that "no one" expected this result:
Reed and the AFC North-leading Ravens travel to San Diego this week to take on the 4-6 Chargers. The safety has intercepted three passes this year to bring his 11-year NFL total to 60, 10th most in history.