Ruling on the field: Overturned

Ruling on the field: Overturned
November 20, 2012, 9:15 pm
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Ed Reed threw the challenge flag for his one-game suspension by the NFL and the verdict came in Tuesday: Overturned.

Instead of missing Sunday’s game at the San Diego Chargers and forfeiting more than $400,000 in salary, Reed’s discipline was reduced to $50,000 for getting his third penalty in three seasons for delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit of a opposing receiver in Sunday’s 13-10 win vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ted Cottrell, the hearing officer in the appeal, made the decision to reduce the penalty. He is jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFL Players Association to hear and decide appeals for on-field player discipline.

Reed and the Ravens were notified Monday that Merton Hanks, a former NFL player who is the league’s vice president of football operations, that he would be suspended and not allowed at the team’s facilities all week. Coach John Harbaugh said at a news conference Monday that he was shocked by the pending suspension.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was relieved to hear the reversal by Cottrell.

“The league has an appeal process to review situations like this, and Ed had his opportunity to answer questions about his play. Ted Cottrell, a long-time NFL defensive coach, reviewed Ed’s play. Ted is the arbitrator approved by both the NFL and the NFL Players Association, and he made the decision,” Newsome said in a statement. “I think John 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.”

Reed hit Emmanuel Sanders after he made a 20-yard catch. The additional penalty yards put them in range to convert a field goal for the final margin in that game.

According to a statement released by the NFL, Cottrell held a hearing by telephone with NFL Players Association, which represented Reed. Reed also was present.

Cottrell wrote in a letter to Reed: “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.”