Ted Cottrell, the hearing officer in the appeal of Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens of his one-game suspension, has reduced the discipline to a $50,000 fine.
Cottrell is jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFL Players Association to hear and decide appeals for on-field player discipline. Reed was suspended for one game without pay on Monday by NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks for his third violation in three seasons of the rule prohibiting helmet-to-helmet hits against defenseless players. The violation took place Sunday night when Reed was penalized by the game officials for making helmet-to-helmet contact with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders shortly after Sanders completed a catch.
Cottrell held a hearing by telephone this morning and issued his decision this afternoon. In the hearing, the NFL Players Association represented Reed, who also participated.
In a letter to Reed, Cottrell said, “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.”
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