Baltimore Ravens star safety Ed Reed has been suspended by the NFL for one game as a result of repeated hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players.
The suspension, which came on Monday, will bench Reed during Sunday game against the San Diego Chargers and will also cost him one game check of more than $400,000.
In making the decision on Reed’s one-game suspension, the NFL looked at three separate violations of the player safety rules in the past three seasons.
The latest came in Sunday night's 13-10 victory over Pittsburgh when he was penalized for unnecessary roughness in the third quarter for a hit to the head of receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Reed also was penalized on Sept. 23 against the Patriots for unnecessary roughness and fined $21,000 for striking Deion Branch when the receiver was defenseless.
In addition, the eight-time pro bowler was cited for a hit against Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Dec. 19, 2010, and was fined $10,000.
"We cannot tolerate repeated violations of rules, especially rules related to player safety," NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said Monday. "We will continue to take the strongest possible action to deter these types of violations and protect our players."
Steelers safety Ryan Clark took to twitter to voice his opinion of the suspension writing, "Tough on Ed getting suspended. 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."
According to the Associated Press, which cites the collective bargaining agreement with the players' union, the suspension can be appealed within three days. An expedited hearing and decision would take place this week.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters that he disagreed with the league's ruling, saying, "I was very surprised, I didn't see that one coming."
"They were all inadvertent," Harbaugh said of the three hits cited by the NFL. "None of those were with the intent to injure or to harm in any way. I think when you look at the hits it's pretty obvious. When you look at Ed, he respects the game, he respects the players."
While his suspension is big news in the NFL, Reed is not the first place to be cited for violating rules designed to protect players. Denver linebacker Joe Mays was barred for one game for an illegal hit against Houston quarterback Matt Schaub on Sept. 23.
Others suspended for similar hits in past seasons include Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in 2011; Panthers defensive back Dante Wesley in 2009; Tampa Bay DB Elbert Mack and New York Jets safety Eric Smith in 2008; and Cowboys safety Roy Williams in 2007; and Titans DT Albert Haynesworth in 2006.