Baltimore Ravens' Reed avoids suspension

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Baltimore free safety Ed Reed won an appeal against the NFL and will be fined $50,000 instead of being suspended for a game for helmet-to-helmet hits.  GENE J. PUSKAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS
GENE J. PUSKAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Baltimore free safety Ed Reed won an appeal against the NFL and will be fined $50,000 instead of being suspended for a game for helmet-to-helmet hits.

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed avoided a one-game suspension for late hits after an appeal. He instead will be fined $50,000.

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. The third violation occurred in Sunday night’s game at Pittsburgh: Reed’s hit to the head of receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

Reed appealed the ruling in phone session Tuesday morning with NFL hearing officer Ted Cottrell. The NFL Players Association represented Reed, who also participated.

Hours later, Cottrell reduced the penalty.

Reed will be in uniform for Sunday’s game in San Diego.

FALCONS: Have signed offensive guard Harland Gunn after backup lineman Joe Hawley received a four-game suspension for violating NFL rules on performance-enhancing substances.

The 6-foot-2, 310-pound Gunn signed with Dallas as a college free agent out of Miami after the NFL Draft. Gunn was waived by the Cowboys and joined the New Orleans Saints practice squad.

Hawley will be eligible to return to the roster after the Dec. 16 game against the New York Giants.

STEELERS: Have brought back veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress to provide depth at a position decimated by injuries while hoping there’s enough gas left in the 35-year-old’s tank to give the offense an added dimension near the goal line.

Burress impressed Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert during a brief workout early Tuesday even though he hasn’t played since the end of the 2011 season as a member of the New York Jets.

The 6-foot-5 Burress spent his first five seasons in the NFL with the Steelers, who selected him with the eighth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.

• Tomlin confirmed Tuesday that Byron Leftwich is out Sunday and that Charlie Batch will start against the Cleveland Browns.

Leftwich fractured two ribs in Sunday night’s 13-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

JETS: New York has waived wide receiver Jason Hill and linebacker Marcus Dowtin, clearing roster space two days before their showdown with the New England Patriots.

The Jets announced the moves Tuesday, but did not immediately announce any corresponding transactions. New York has 50 players on its roster, leaving them three spots they could fill before the game Thursday night.

Hill had two catches for 15 yards and a touchdown in three games with the Jets.


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