“I don’t know. I don’t know what is going to come of it,” Reed said. “All I like to do is play the game.”
Reed received a one-game suspension for “repeated” helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless receivers after a blow to Pittsburgh’s Emmanuel Sanders on Nov. 18. It was Reed’s third violation in the past three seasons.
However, Reed successfully appealed the suspension, as it was reversed a day later by Ted Cottrell, who was appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association to be an impartial arbitrator in such cases. The suspension without pay (a game check reportedly worth $423,529) was lifted and Reed instead received a far smaller fine of $50,000.
As part of the league’s decision, Cottrell wrote this to Reed:
“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."
Reed appears to be at a loss to do so.
He said he talked to FOX broadcasters Joe Buck and former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman before the game, and was asked about how his game has changed.
“I don’t really know what to do with it,” Reed said. “I thought it was a decent hit. He got up from it. I think Cruz got up.”
Cruz did get up, and did not show any visible injury from the hit. Reed also extended his hand to try to help the wide receiver off the ground.
It’s unknown whether Reed’s hit could result in a suspension this time. Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the team had not heard yet from the NFL about a possible suspension, and he emphasized that Reed was not trying to hit Cruz in the head.
“It’s tough,” Harbaugh said. “Full speed. This whole thing, I hope that the league really takes a look at this in the offseason and figures out a way to help the players out a little bit because it’s been a real challenge this year. Ed was trying to do everything he could... Our guys are really trying to do the right thing and it’s difficult at full speed to do that.”
Reed was flagged for a personal foul, specifically a hit on a defenseless receiver, by referee Carl Cheffers. Replays showed that Reed clearly led with his shoulder on the hit. Reed lowered his strike zone, but still caught Cruz’s ducking chin, sending the wide receiver reeling backwards.
Former Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira, who now weighs in on refereeing for FOX, did not agree with the call.
NYG/BAL He did not lead with his head & I do not think it was a foul but officials are told to err on side of safety when the hit is high.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) December 23, 2012