Reed apologizes to teammates
PITTSBURGH -- Steelers kicker Jeff Reed is saying he's sorry. Again.
The question is whether the Steelers will tire of a dependable but distraction-causing player who constantly keeps needing to apologize.
Reed said he's unhappy at focusing unwanted attention on the organization by becoming involved in a run-in with Pittsburgh police, several hours after kicking two field goals during a 27-14 victory against Cleveland on Sunday.
"I apologize for being a distraction to this team," Reed said. "For me, now I can move on. There are other players that have done this and played well, so it's not an excuse."
The incident was the second involving Reed this year and led to talks with team president Art Rooney II, director of football operations Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin, none of whom was pleased with Reed's actions.
Earlier this year, Reed paid $543 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and criminal mischief for damaging a paper towel dispenser in a Pittsburgh-area convenience store bathroom in February, a few weeks after the Steelers won the Super Bowl.
The NFL is investigating Reed's latest off-field problem, in which he was cited for simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness after allegedly scuffling with police officers outside a bar near Heinz Field.
Reed will play Sunday against unbeaten Minnesota (6-0), but Tomlin had no options other than bringing in an unfamiliar kicker for his team's biggest game of the season so far.
"When you're talking about pulling people out of lineups and so forth, it's not conducive to winning," Tomlin said.
While the Steelers aren't punishing him for now, Reed is unsigned past this season, and the off-field incidents aren't helping persuade the Steelers (4-2) to bring him back.
"I was very shocked to hear people ask if I was going to play or not," Reed said. "Stuff like this, you've just got to deal with. It makes you tougher. I'm a [special teams] captain of this team. It may not sound like it when something like this comes up, but I like to represent this team as well as I can."
Steelers backup tight end Matt Spaeth, issued a citation for disorderly conduct for urinating in a parking lot during the post-game incident, also apologized. He said the matter was being resolved internally.
Reed expects the investigation to take some time, but is certain he won't be suspended. He also told his agent, Don Henderson, not to comment on the case. Henderson has said Reed will fight the charges.
"I told my agent to keep his mouth shut because he doesn't know what's going on," Reed said.
Reed's teammates told him "to keep my head up, don't worry about it, we need you." He also received numerous well wishes from fans while attending the Blues-Penguins game on Tuesday night.
"It's been embarrassing to be in the news like that, but at the same time my job is to kick field goals and extra points and kick off for this team, and I will."
The 30-year-old Reed had two costly field goal misses during the Steelers' 17-14 loss at Chicago on Sept. 20, but is 7 for 10 for the season. He made a winner in overtime against Tennessee on Sept. 10, and is 12th in NFL history in field goal accuracy, making 169 of 206 (82 percent).
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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