NEW ORLEANS -- To the relief of many players, they’re done with talking before the Super Bowl.
Thursday, Ravens safety Ed Reed took his final opportunity at the podium to tear into Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“There’s so much that you can do and there’s so much that needs to be done, but they would rather police certain things. You tend to miss things when you’re making a certain amount of money and not playing the game, you’re missing out,” Reed said.
The NFL has fined Reed more than $100,000 this season for two helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless receivers, meaning the player was still in the process of catching and had not become a runner.
He initially was suspended in November for getting his third violation in three seasons that would've cost him more than $400,000 because of losing a week’s salary. Fortunately for Reed, the penalty was turned over by an arbitrator on appeal and his fine was reduced to $50,000 and a warning.
Reed was fined $55,000 in December. On both hits, vs. Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders and Victor Cruz of the New York Giants, Reed drove his shoulder into their shoulder and chest area. On the follow-through, however, their helmets clashed.
In his 11th NFL season, Reed, 34, has said that always has been a legal hit and that’s how most players have been taught. Goodell and the NFL’s competition committee, however, are concerned about head injuries and concussions as the league is mired in lawsuits filed by former players. They want defenders to lower the target area from the upper torso.
“If you’re just somebody who is upstairs just wearing a suit who is just fining people and stuff like that for the wrong things; we’re policing the wrong things,” Reed said. “I really don’t know what to say about our commissioner, honestly. It’s probably more him and his staff that came up with the things that we’re being fined for. It’s not just Mr. Goodell. I think he needs more help at the fining process and not just have do-boys that want to please you.
"That was my first impression of it so I decided I would stay as far away as possible, just stay away from the principal. Just like school, stay away from the principal’s office as much as possible but obviously they found me. The way they have fined me has been ridiculous honestly. .. I think I topped the charts."
The Ravens' other starting safety, Bernard Pollard, has been fined several times, too. He was given a $15,250 penalty for a hit on New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker in the AFC title game.
Pollard has taken issue not just with the fines but with the NFL not disclosing where the money goes, he said.
Reed went a step beyond Thursday.
"It’s just bad on how the game has been policed this year and the process that we've been through on the lockout with us, the lockout with the referees, come on man it was all a joke," Reed said. "I thought you could really get situated but they are the ones who make all the money and doing nothing."