Man, it sure is tough playing safety in today's NFL. Between rule changes that take away a good bit of their defensive edge and a commissioner who gives out fines like it's candy on Halloween, being a safety has moved into about the toughest gig you could have on the field.
Nobody knows this more than Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, who was slapped with a $55,000 fine this week for a hit last Sunday against New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz. What makes this even worse is that the man who was on the receiving end of the hit — Cruz himself — didn't think the hit was dirty and that this fine is rather excessive.
"I think it's pretty steep. It's a pretty hefty fine, but it wasn't my decision," Cruz told reporters Friday. "It wasn't anything I could do about it, but I think that's a pretty hefty fine, to say the least."
The hit in question, which received a penalty at the time, was a Reed shoulder to Cruz's head as Cruz turned upfield after making a catch. The league deemed that the hit was an unnecessary blow to the head/ neck area and deserved a fine.
On further review, however, it may just be that the league has a little man crush on Cruz himself. In total this season, three safeties have been fined a total $92,875 for hits on Cruz this season.
Cruz addressed this on Friday.
"I guess dancing a little salsa in the end zone has been prosperous," Cruz said. "Nobody likes to see the salsa man get hurt, so I don't know what it is."
Ultimately not many people are happy with the amount of fines being levied against defensive players this season. The general response is that there needs to be more leeway as players adopt to the leagues cracking down on potential injuries. The overall attitude was best summed up by Ravens head coach John Harbaugh when asked about Reeds Fine.
"Obviously, the system is not perfect." Harbaugh said.
"The motivation is correct and the idea is right," Harbaugh added. "It's still a work in progress. Like I said before, our guys are doing everything they can. I'm really proud of our guys [with] the way that they've responded to try to play within the rules and respect player safety.
"Sometimes it's easier said than done, but they are doing their best."
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Getty