The veteran safety won his appeal of the one-game suspension that the NFL initially handed down for violating the league’s player safety rules. Instead of the one-game suspension without pay, which would have included forfeiting a $423,529 game check, Reed will now be fined $50,000 and serve no suspension.
“I’m grateful to continue playing this game with my teammates,” Reed said Tuesday at his charity event. "The rules of the gamehave changed. Over my career I’ve never been that guy, and I don’t plan on being that guy."
Reed's suspension was overturned less than 24 hours after the initial ruling was announced.
"The league has an appeal process to review situations like this and Ed had his opportunity to answer questions about his play,” Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "I think John (Harbaugh) and his coaches do an excellent job of teaching the right, safe and legal way to play football, and we believe Ed clearly tries to play within the rules on every down.”
The appeal was heard by former NFL defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who was appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association to be an arbitrator in such cases. Reed, Newsome, Head Coach John Harbaugh and President Dick Cass participated in the appeals process.
"I have determined that your actions were egregious and warrant significant discipline," Cottrell wrote in a letter to Reed. "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."
Reed has a stellar reputation that extends outside the Ravens locker room, and a number of players voiced their support for the veteran safety. Even Steelers safety Ryan Clark tweeted that he disagreed with the suspension.
"Tough on Ed getting suspended,” Clark wrote. "I can't say that I agree w that. It was a penalty but I don't believe he was intentionally trying to harm E.”
The suspension initially came after Reed was flagged for unnecessary roughness in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Reed made a helmet-to-helmet hit on wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, which was his third violation of the rules protecting defenseless players in the last three seasons.
One came earlier this year against the New England Patriots receiver Deion Branch, for which Reed was fined $21,000. The other was in 2010 for a hit against New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees.
Harbaugh initially said that he was surprised by the suspension, and pointed out that none of the hits were malicious.
"They were all inadvertent,” Harbaugh said. "None of those were with intent to injure or to harm in any way. When you look at the hits, that’s pretty obvious. We all know Ed. Ed respects the game. He respects his fellow players."