Baltimore's Ed Reed, among the best safeties in NFL history, has been suspended by the league for one game for repeated headhunting.
Reed will not be allowed to practice this week, and cannot play in Sunday's game at San Diego.
According to the NFL, his personal-foul penalty in Sunday night's game at Pittsburgh was the third time in the last three seasons Reed violated the rule against hitting defenseless players in the head or neck area. He was flagged for his hit on Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
In the last few years, the league has stepped up its precautions and penalties related to head injuries, and this season has suspended two offenders — Reed and Denver linebacker Joe Mays, who sat out a game after an illegal hit on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub.
"We cannot tolerate repeated violations of rules, especially rules related to player safety," Ray Anderson, NFL executive vice president of football operations, said Monday. "We will continue to take the strongest possible action to deter these types of violations and protect our players."