Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed was suspended without pay by the National Football League (NFL) on Monday for repeatedly hitting defenseless opponents around the head and neck area.
The NFL issued a statement announcing that Reed had been banned for one game, next Sunday's clash against the San Diego Chargers, as well as being prevented from practicing with his team this week.
The suspension was issued after Reed was penalized for unnecessary roughness in the third quarter of last Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers for a hit to the head and neck area of receiver, Emmanuel Sanders.
The league said it was Reed's third violation in the past three seasons of the rules designed to protect defenseless players.
"We cannot tolerate repeated violations of rules, especially rules related to player safety," NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson said on Monday.
"We will continue to take the strongest possible action to deter these types of violations and protect our players."
The Ravens said Reed was planning to appeal against the penalty.
"We all know Ed respects the players, he respects the game," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said on the team's website.
"None of those hits were intent. They were inadvertent. Ed respects the game.
Reed is the second player suspended this season for violating the rules, joining Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays who was banned for an illegal hit on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub. (Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Julian Linden)