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Old 11-17-2010, 06:26 AM   #1
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Default Bires: Reed's attitude worse than his kicking

Bires: Reed's attitude worse than his kicking
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Tuesday November 16, 2010 11:22 PM

Jeff Reed was released after nine seasons with the Steelers. Times file photo by LUCY SCHALY

PITTSBURGH — As the Steelers booted Jeff Reed out the door, they gambled that a new kicker beats the current state of affairs.

They have no idea if Shaun Suisham will be able to handle the job. But they certainly had serious doubts about Reed as they head into the homestretch of a playoff chase.

For all his successes during the first eight years of his career in Pittsburgh, Reed was nothing but trouble this season.

In training camp, he had an early meltdown by ripping into the Rooneys, accusing them of “lying” after he didn’t get a contract extension he claimed was promised to him. For a guy making $2.8 million this year, it came across as whining.

On the field, he’s been nothing less than the NFL’s worst kicker.

And then came his tirade after Sunday night’s loss to New England. When asked about missing a 26-yard field goal, Reed babbled about poor field conditions at Heinz Field, negative media attention and criticism he’d been getting of late from the fans.

Instead of being a stand-up guy, he made up excuses. He sounded like a guy who knew his time in Pittsburgh was winding to a close.

And that was the final straw. The Steelers had seen and heard enough.

Reed had to go.

No longer was there reason for management and the coaching staff to believe he could handle the pressure of making a clutch kick.

So, the Steelers decided to turn to an unheralded journeyman who’s never attempted a kick at Heinz Field. They’re turning to a guy who was cut during the preseason by Cleveland and St. Louis. A guy who hasn’t attempted a single kick yet this year. A guy who failed to land a job two weeks ago after a try out with lowly Detroit.
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Still, the Steelers would rather have Suisham than Reed, the second-leading scorer in franchise history and a clutch playoff performer who has a dazzling 92.5 percent success rate in postseason play (16-of-18). In fact, after missing two kicks during the playoffs as a rookie, Reed made 16 straight.

But that was then.

In this year’s season opener against Atlanta, Reed missed a 40-yarder in a game the Steelers eventually won in overtime.

He was 0-of-2 in a home loss to Baltimore with misses from 49 and 45 yards.

He missed a 46-yarder two games ago in Cincinnati.

Then came the 26-yard shank against the Patriots.

When the Steelers cut him, Reed was 15-of-22 for the year — including 0-of-4 between 40 and 49 yards — for a sickly accuracy rate of 68.2 percent. Plus, he was just 4-of-9 at Heinz Field.

“The kicking position is one that merits special consideration,” coach Mike Tomlin said.

Indeed, Jeff Reed was once a special Steeler. He isn’t any longer.

He’s now an ex-Steeler wondering when and where he’ll kick next.

Mike Bires can be reached at
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