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Reed wins appeal, avoids suspension
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.
In a letter to Reed, Cottrell wrote: "I have determined that your actions were egregious and warrant significant discipline. However, I do not believe that your actions were so egregious as to subject you to a one-game suspension without pay. Player safety is the league's primary concern in the formation of playing rules and all players are expected to adhere to those rules or face disciplinary action.''
Steelers sign WR Plaxico Burress
Plaxico Burress is back where he once belonged.
The Pittsburgh Steelers brought back the veteran wide receiver on Tuesday 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.
"He's in really good physical condition based on the workout I just saw," Tomlin said. "He's got very good body control for a big man. He can drop his weight at break points and obviously he's no stranger to football."
The Steelers (6-4) are in need of healthy bodies at wide receiver after Jerricho Cotchery fractured his ribs late in Sunday night's 13-10 loss to Baltimore. Antonio Brown has missed the last two games due to an ankle injury and Tomlin listed Brown as questionable for Sunday's game against Cleveland (2-8).
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. He moved on to the New York Giants in 2005 and caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the 2008 Super Bowl before his career derailed after accidentally shooting himself in a New York nightclub, leading to a gun charge that resulted in a 20-month prison sentence.
Harbaugh undergoing follow-up evaluation
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh had an appointment Tuesday for a follow-up evaluation with doctors after undergoing a minor procedure last Thursday for an irregular heartbeat.
The 49ers canceled Harbaugh's scheduled media conference call minutes before it was to begin Tuesday afternoon, a day after San Francisco's 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears, but gave no indication that there is anything of further concern with Harbaugh's health in addition to what he went through last week. The team released a schedule with Harbaugh set for his usual Wednesday news conference.
Harbaugh, the reigning NFL Coach of the Year who turns 49 next month, was candid about the "cardiovert" - or shocking of the heart to treat an irregular heartbeat - he had done at Stanford Hospital. He has had the condition for most of his life, he said.