Soon after Ravens safety Ed Reed steamed across the field and blasted Branch hard with his shoulder in Sunday night's Baltimore win, Branch and Reed could be seen talking with each other and smiling on the field. Branch appeared to be saying he was fine with the hit, even as the referees threw a penalty flag at Reed, who was not happy with the call.
But Reed's hit — later couched as hitting a defenseless receiver, rather than leading with the head (which Reed clearly did not) — still got the flag, and now it has a matching fine, too.
Reed was fined $21,000 for the hit this week after the NFL reviewed the tape, according to profootballtalk.com.
Branch said after the game that he didn't know whether the blow was a penalty or not (he was more irritated about dropping the pass). The NFL, however, was happy to make the call.