Reed's latest incident embarrassment to Steelers


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News of another alleged police incident involving Steelers kicker Jeff Reed brought to mind Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning saying so famously of teammate Mike Vanderjagt in 2003, "He's a good kicker, but he's an idiot ... We're talking about our idiot kicker who got liquored up and ran his mouth off."

If Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that same thing about Reed, no one would argue.




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Columnist Ron Cook says the Jeff Reed incident is an embarrassment to the Steelers. What do you think? Visit our community forum and share your comments about this issue.




Not today.

Not after Reed was given multiple citations Sunday night for simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public intoxication outside of McFadden's bar on the North Shore, according to Pittsburgh police.

The incident, in which Reed allegedly harassed the cops as they tried to issue a citation to teammate Matt Spaeth for public urination and was put to the ground and handcuffed for his trouble, is Reed's second in eight months. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and criminal mischief after beating up a towel dispenser in a Sheetz store in February in New Alexandria. One such incident might be brushed off as an isolated lapse in judgment. But two, if these charges are legitimate? That's an embarrassment, not just to Reed, but to the Steelers. It's also a distraction that the team doesn't need as it appears to be starting on a roll with three consecutive wins after a 1-2 start to the season.

Television crews from WTAE and WPXI were at the Steelers' South Side compound early yesterday. They weren't there to look back at the 27-14 win against the Cleveland Browns Sunday or to look ahead to the big game with the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings Sunday at Heinz Field. They were there because Reed appears to have acted like, well, an idiot.

Again.

Not exactly the way Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wanted to start his work week.

Neither Reed nor anyone with the Steelers commented yesterday. Reed's Atlanta-based agent, Don Henderson, told the Post-Gazette that Reed was wrongfully detained and will "contest" the charges.

It is believed that Reed -- a Steelers captain -- apologized for the distraction to his coaches and teammates during the team's usual Monday meeting. That's about all he could do at that point. The damage to his reputation and the team's already had been done, even if his case still must be resolved in the legal system.

An NFL spokesman said the league is aware of Reed's citations and is investigating. It fined him $10,000 for the February incident for violating its personal-conduct code, he revealed during training camp. It's fair to think he'll be hit for $25,000 this time, if he's guilty.

Reed should feel lucky if he is not suspended. He could get a game for sheer stupidity, if nothing else. For putting himself in a position where he has to defend himself against these kinds of charges.

"I don't want people to think I'm that kind of person," Reed said in August of the Sheetz incident. "That's not the way I was raised and this organization doesn't tolerate it. It won't happen again."

But did it?

Reed's timing for making this kind of news couldn't be worse, not just for the team's sake but his. He's in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season. He has said repeatedly he wants to stay with the Steelers.

He has a strange way of showing that, doesn't he?

I've been a big supporter of Reed's for a long time, publicly lobbying the Steelers to do a new deal with him. His consistency on the field has been remarkable, one bad day in Chicago Sept. 20, when he missed two field goals in a tough, 17-14 loss, aside.

But Reed's consistency off the field, if you will, is enough to make you wonder if he has any chance of a future with the Steelers beyond this season. The team shouldn't have to keep dealing with the headaches he causes. Tomlin had to think the first one would be the last one after the two had a little man-to-man talk after Reed's towel tantrum.

"They were great about it," Reed said in August of the support he received from Tomlin and Steelers president Art Rooney II. "They just told me, 'You've done so much for this organization. Just be smart. Be careful out there. You're more of a public figure than you realize.' "

Apparently, Reed wasn't paying attention that day. At least not to the "Be careful out there, you're a public figure" part.

That's inexcusable.

Reed is no kid. He turned 30 April 9. If he has a problem with alcohol and/or anger-management, he should get help. If he doesn't, he should grow up.

He should do one or the other before it's too late for his career.


Ron Cook can be reached at rcook@post-gazette.com . First Published October 20, 2009 4:00 AM


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