Ed Reed on NFL rule enforcement: 'It's a tough situation'

The Baltimore Sun

Appealing a $21,000 fine from the league office for his crushing hit on New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch, Ravens star free safety Ed Reed characterized NFL rule enforcement as confusing.

Reed was fined for striking a defenseless player in the head and neck area and was penalized with a personal foul. Branch was shaken up, but unhurt and Reed shook hands with him after the play.

"I didn't think my fine was that bad," Reed said. "A lot of people are saying it was legal. At the end of the day, Deion Branch is alright. I shook his hand and made sure he was good. I wasn't trying to hit him in the head.

"It seemed to me like he dropped down. What do you do? He's dropping down. Who's wrong there? Him or I? It's a tough situation."

Under NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, while the league faces mounting concussion litigation, the league has made it a major point of emphasis to try to protect receivers and quarterbacks by increasing fines.

Reed griped that the NFL has gone too far.

"We can talk about this all day, the NFL and the rule changes and defenseless players and stuff like that," Reed said. "You actually want a receiver to catch the ball first, you want us to let them catch the ball first. They're changing the game.

"You don't see the NHL changing the game, they're letting those guys play. Obviously, you need to police the injuries as far as head shots and stuff like that, but some stuff is just a given."


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