Ed Reed is thankful that his one-game suspension for his hit on the Steelers' Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday was overturned on appeal, but the Baltimore Ravens' star safety isn't happy that he still has to pay a $50,000 fine.
"It really needs to be discussed for a fine to come down like that so harshly for that hit," Reed, who was handing out turkeys with some teammates at a middle school in Baltimore, said, according to the Baltimore Sun.
He particularly wasn't happy he might be viewed by some now as a dirty player after the league tried to suspend him, alleging a past pattern on illegal hits.
"Over my career and for them to go back to 2010 for me scratching Drew Brees on the head, even the one that happened in Week 2 with Michael Vick, c'mon, man. I'm going for the ball. It's a contact sport," he told reporters, according to the newspaper. "It's a lot that needs to be done with it, man. I'm just glad I can play with my teammates. I'm not happy with the 50 grand, but what can you do?"
He called it a "shame it even came to this point."
Reed was suspended for one game without pay on Monday by NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks for his third violation in three seasons of the rule prohibiting helmet-to-helmet hits against defenseless players.
Reed appealed the ruling in a phone session Tuesday morning with NFL hearing officer Ted Cottrell. The NFL Players Association represented Reed, who also participated. Cottrell lifted the suspension but still fined Reed, as he determined Reed's "actions were egregious and warrant significant discipline."
Reed lamented that the NFL is trying to change the way football is played, although he acknowledged that "a lot needs to be done because it is about safety.
"At the same time, we grew up watching the game be played a certain way and playing it a certain way. It is tackle football. It is a contact sport and a brutal one, a violent one at that, the No. 1 violent sport, sad to say," he told reporters.
"I know concussions has been a big thing. I've had concussions before, and I know guys are going to have concussions. If you want to stop it, stop the game. Like people say, it's starting to be a flag football thing. I have a flag football tournament. We can make this a big thing if we want to, everybody can come get in my league."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.