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Harbaugh on Ed Reed's $55,000 fine: 'The system is not perfect'

With Ravens free safety Ed Reed being fined $55,000 for his unnecessary roughness penalty stemming from a hit on New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, coach John Harbaugh opined that there's still room for improvement in the NFL's discipline enforcement policies.

"Obviously, the system is not perfect," Harbaugh said today at team headquarters. "Although the motivation is correct and the idea is right, it's still a work in progress. Our guys are doing everything they can.

"I'm really proud of our guys and the way they've responded to play within the rules and respect player safety. Sometimes it's easier said than done, but they're doing their best."

Reed delivered a glancing shoulder blow to Cruz's facemask during the Ravens' 33-14 victory over the defending Super Bowl champions, triggering a penalty for an illegal hit announced by the referee as unnecessary roughness for illegal contact to the helmet and neck area of a defenseless receiver.

As a repeat offender -- who had a one-game suspension overturned and replaced with a $50,000 fine earlier this season -- Reed is in the NFL crosshairs.

Reed was initially suspended by the league for one game without pay earlier this season, punishment stemming from his hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. One day later, the suspension was overturned by NFL hearing officer Ted Cottrell after Reed filed an appeal through the NFL Players Association with Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and team president Dick Cass among those defending him.

"It's an interesting situation," Reed said Thursday prior to learning of the fine. "I just play the game. I let them make those decisions."

awilson@baltsun.com

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