Ravens safety Reed wins appeal


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — 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 a 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. I hope in the future you will focus on ensuring that your play conforms to the rules.”

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

“The league has an appeal process to review situations like this, and Ed had his opportunity to answer questions about his play,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “I think John (Harbaugh) and his coaches do an excellent job of teaching the right, safe and legal way to play football, and we believe Ed clearly tries to play within the rules on every down.”

49ers’ Harbaugh

undergoing follow-up

evaluation on heart

SAN FRANCISCO — 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 49ers 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 an electrical shocking of the heart to treat an irregular heartbeat and restore its rhythm to a normal pattern — he had done at Stanford Hospital after being evaluated last Wednesday night. He has had the condition for most of his life, he said, and was told to improve his diet and cut back on his caffeine intake.

Harbaugh was his typical energetic self on the sideline Monday night with the NFC West-leading Niners (7-2-1), who have a quick turnaround for Sunday’s game at New Orleans in a rematch of the NFC divisional playoff game won in a 36-32 thriller by San Francisco at Candlestick Park last January.

Jets waive WR Hill,

LB Dowtin

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets have 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 at MetLife Stadium.

Hill was signed by the Jets last month after Santonio Holmes was lost for the season with a foot injury. He was released a few weeks later, but re-signed Nov. 6. He had two catches for 15 yards and a touchdown in three games with the Jets.

Dowtin was signed off the practice squad last month and had four special teams tackles.

Jaguars sign

Shipley, waive Taufoou

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed receiver Jordan Shipley and waived fullback Will Taufoou.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the Jaguars needed a sixth receiver, but Laurent Robinson has missed several games because of concussions and appeared to slam his head on the ground late in Sunday’s loss at Houston. The Jaguars also have starters Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III as well as backups Micheal Spurlock and Kevin Elliott.

Shipley has played in 18 games since entering the league as a third-round draft pick by Cincinnati in 2010. He has 56 receptions for 614 yards and three touchdowns. He played in one game with Tampa Bay this season before being waived Sept. 25. In 2010, he led all AFC rookies with 52 catches for 600 yards and three touchdowns.

Batch to start for

Steelers vs. Browns

PITTSBURGH — Charlie Batch is back on the field for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Plaxico Burress might be next.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday the 37-year-old Batch will start at quarterback on Sunday in Cleveland.

Batch is 5-2 while subbing for Roethlisberger through the years. Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich are both out indefinitely with rib injuries. Batch passed for 208 yards in a 27-0 victory over St. Louis last December.

Steelers sign

WR Plaxico Burress

PITTSBURGH — Plaxico Burress is back with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh signed the 35-year-old wide receiver on Tuesday to provide depth at a position decimated by injuries. Antonio Brown has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle and Jerricho Cotchery fractured his ribs late in Sunday night’s 13-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

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 played for the New York Jets last year, catching 45 passes for 612 yards and tying for the team lead with eight touchdown receptions. He missed the 2009 and 2010 seasons while serving a 20-month prison sentence stemming from a gun charge.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Burress looked “good” during a brief workout Tuesday morning.

Redskins LB Fletcher’s

streak in danger again

ASHBURN, Va. — London Fletcher’s consecutive games streak is in danger once again.

The Washington Redskins linebacker did not practice Tuesday due to a sprained right ankle and has little time to recover before Thursday’s Thanksgiving game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Fletcher was hurt in Sunday’s 31-6 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He has never missed a game in his 15-year NFL career and has appeared in 234 in a row, tying him with Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ronde Barber for the longest active streak.

Fletcher says he won’t be able to give the ankle a good test until the pregame warmup.

His availability was also in doubt prior to last month’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of head and hamstring injuries, but he started and played all 61 defensive snaps.