Open Letter to Steelers Kicker Jeff Reed: It's TACKLE Football!

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Open Letter to Steelers Kicker Jeff Reed: It's TACKLE Football!
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

As if his off-field antics weren't enough to warrant a speedy departure.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, after a slow start to the season, had rebounded nicely and were sitting on a 10-point lead over the undefeated Minnesota Vikings at Hienz Field Sunday, when troubled kicker Jeff Reed kicked the ball deep to Percy Harvin.

Then it happened.

Harvin found a seam and hit it hard, running towards the left sideline on what was looking to be a very good return. Reed was in perfect position to make it just that, a good return.

Instead, Reed did the unthinkable.

With Harvin in front of him, Reed sidestepped him, extended his arms, and executed a perfect playground shove, which did little more than get Harvin even further outside so that he could finish the return for the touchdown.

The kicker's job, for those who don't know, if that after he kicks the ball (which requires a herculean amount of skill and training), is to play safety; he is the last line of defense between a stop and a score.

If he isn't going to actually dirty his uniform and tackle anyone, his job is to position himself in such a way as to turn the runner back inside where the rest of the special teams are, in hopes that someone with some intestinal fortitude will actually tackle him.

Even the announcers were flabbergasted.

All three called the play horrible.

All three called the play inexcusable.

All three couldn't stop re-running the play, as if they thought that if they ran it again, it would not have actually happened.

On-field reporter Tony "the Goose" Siragusa acted like he wanted to walk down the Steelers sidelines and chew Reed a new one.

But it did. It did happen. Oh, how it happened.

Not surprisingly, Reed was shown later on the sidelines sitting starkly alone, which is better than he deserved. With one sissy move, he had swung the momentum away from the Steelers and back into the waiting arms of Brett Favre and the Vikings.

Yeah, I gave him heck for re-un-retiring, but Favre is still not the guy you want to give momentum to in the fourth quarter when trailing by less than a touchdown.

Fortunately for Reed, the Steelers defense was feeling it's oats Sunday, and put a stop to the Vikings comeback hopes thanks to an 82-yard interception return with 1:15 left in the game.

Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the defense stepped up and saved Jeff Reed's behind, and possibly his job, by cutting the Vikings' comeback hopes short at the end of the fourth quarter.

There are plenty of kickers around the league who would jump at the chance to play for the Steelers.

Between missed kicks, miffed kickoffs, drunken escapades, and now this, Reed is on his way to costing the Steelers big time in a clutch situation later this season.

Coach Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers adminstrative staff need to look long and hard at whether they want to continue keeping the potential liability that Reed is on the sidelines; or jettison him for someone who has a bit more sense, a lot more composure, and actually understands that if you are the last guy betwen the kick returner and the goal line, you TACKLE HIM

Or at least slow him down a little bit so someone else can tackle him.

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