BALTIMORE (CBSMiami) – Baltimore Ravens, and former University of Miami star, safety Ed Reed has been suspended for one game by the NFL for repeatedly hitting the head and neck area of defenseless players.

The move came after Reed was penalized again Sunday for unnecessary roughness for his hit on wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was the third violation for Reed in three years and second this season.

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Reed vowed to appeal the decision, but he could miss this weekend’s game against the San Diego Chargers.

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The move to suspend Reed comes as heightened scrutiny of the NFL’s attempts to protect its players from traumatic brain injuries. Countless lawsuits have been filed by ex-players saying repeated concussions have crippled them in later life.

For the Ravens, losing Reed will only further hinder a defense that’s been hobbled by serious injuries all season. The Ravens lost their top cornerback to a season-ending knee injury and lost his replacement, Jimmy Smith to a sports hernia.

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In addition, the Ravens have been without their heart and soul on defense, middle linebacker Ray Lewis for several weeks after he suffered a season-ending injury earlier this year.