Picked up during a crisis situation in the middle of the 2002 season, Jeff Reed developed not only into one of the NFL’s best kickers and best pressure kickers.
That ended as the Steelers released Reed two days after the humiliating loss the Steelers suffered to the New England Patriots, and one day after Reed seemingly used the turf as an excuse for a missed 26 yard kick.
In his place the Steelers signed Shaun Suisham, whos career percentage is only a few points below Reed’s, but who nonetheless missed several clutch kicks in his recent stints with Washington and Dallas.
Steelers Take Significant Risk in Cutting Reed
Reed was in a slump. Many of the kicks he missed were longer, lower percentage kicks, but Reed had excelled under pressure unlike no other kicker of this era, save perhaps for Alan Venitari.
And, as Ed Bouchette pointed out today in PG Plus as he has many other times, Jeff Reed kicks in the NFL’s most difficult stadium in addition to kicking in the AFC North – which features three outdoor fields and all that the elements can bring to bear.
The rational side of me says “this is a big mistake.”
Jeff Reed – Mala Leche of Late
But the best football decisions are not governed by all that is rational.
Jeff Reed had made not bones about the fact that he was unhappy with his contract situation. If there is any indication that he let this affect his performance, cutting him is a no brainer.
Reed also had made several negative comments, some directed at his coverage units, others at the fans. And he had a history of run-ins with the law, albeit minor ones compared to Santonio Holmes and Ben Roethlisberger.
Something did not sit right with me about Jeff Reed this year. As we say in (Argentine) Spanish, his attitude was “mala leche” which translates literally as “sour milk” but really conveys a more negative, mean spirited mind-set.
And perhaps there is more to the story than has been confirmed. Jim Wexell’s Twitter feed features a tweet claiming that Dale Lolley reported on some sort of an altercation between Reed and a fan.
Take Mike Tomlin at his word when he assures that this decision was not one made lightly. Say one thing for Tomlin and Kevin Colbert – they do not make personnel decisions out of fear.
Their gambles have usually paid off. Let’s cross our figures in hopes that it happens again.