In the wake of Ed Reed’s one game suspension without pay being reduced to a $50,000 fine, Reed’s former teammate – and future foe this Sunday – Chargers linebacker Jarret Johnson, came to his defense.
“I guess they’re trying to be black and white and say ‘if you hit a guy in the head, there needs to be a penalty.’” Johnson said when asked about Reed’s rollercoaster week. “If you look at Ed’s tackle, it was a good tackle. This is a fast paced game and if you’re going to make a good form tackle, sometimes heads are going to hit. I thought it was totally BS that [the NFL] was going to suspend him without pay, which probably would have been a good break for us, but I thought the suspension was ridiculous.”
Many current and former players came to Reed’s defense in wake of the news that he was to be suspended. Johnson offered his suggestion on how the ruling could be improved for the future.
“I think they need to look at penalties on an individual basis, not just the fact of ‘did he hit him in the head? Well he needs to be fined.’ I think it needs to be the intent to hurt or how malicious the hit is and I think it’s a little overboard.”
Even though Johnson understands what the league is trying to do, he knows that many defensive players won’t stop being physical and lose their advantage.
“In our sport, physicality is rewarded,” Johnson said. “The more physical player and the more physical team overall usually wins both the one-on-one match-ups and as a team. You’ll never be able to take that away but I understand what they’re trying to do, trying to protect the brand and trying to keep guys healthy but it’s just the way the game is built and it’s tough to do.”
Johnson’s former teammates are probably hoping he won’t be as physical as the guy they and the fan base grew to know and love over his nine seasons in Baltimore.
If he plays like the “Double J” most people are familiar with, some of his former teammates may be extra sore on the cross-country plane ride home Sunday evening.