The NFL's crackdown on hard hits victimizing defenseless receivers has once again cost Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed five figures. According to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer, the league has fined the Ravens' star $55,000 for his hit on Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz in Week 16:
Ed Reed has been fined another $55,000 for hit on Victor Cruz in Sundays game vs giants. No suspension but 55k fine— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) December 28, 2012
Reed's hit came in the fourth quarter of Baltimore's 33-14 victory over New York, which gave the team an AFC North championship.
As Eli Manning scrambled out of the pocket, a well-covered Cruz tried to make a toe-touching grab on the sideline, but Reed met him with a vicious hit. The Ravens' safety lowered his shoulder, connecting on a helmet-to-helmet blow that sent Cruz crashing to the ground. The hit drew a flag and extended the Giants' drive, but many wondered whether the ferocious strike would leave Reed suspended for Week 17.
The 34-year-old safety has already been suspended once this season for repeated helmet-to-helmet hits. Though Reed later appealed the suspension and had his penalty reduced to a $50,000 fine, his hit on Cruz was the fourth violation of the rule in three seasons and the team feared that commissioner Roger Goodell would not give him a pass once again (per Pro Football Talk).
In the end, the league allowed Reed to walk free.
Whether the decision was influenced by the first appeal or Goodell felt that Reed did not hit Cruz with malice intent, Baltimore will undoubtedly be grateful. Reed has been the leader of a banged-up secondary all season, and the Ravens still have an opportunity to solidify the No. 3 seed on Sunday.
While Reed certainly cannot be happy about writing another five-figure check, he should just be happy that the league didn't try to make an example out of him again.