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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Seahawks defensive lineman Jarran Reed suspended six games

In this Dec. 2, 2018 photo, Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed stretches before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta The Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed has been suspended for the first six games of the 2019 season for a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy relating to an incident from early 2017, the league announced Monday morning.

The news was first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, who further reported that Reed’s appeal was denied Friday morning after the league had investigated the incident and then informed Reed and the Seahawks of a potential penalty.

The Seattle Times confirmed that Reed is being suspended for an incident that occurred on April 27, 2017 when Reed was investigated by the Bellevue Police Department after a woman filed a complaint of an assault at a house in Bellevue in an incident stated as occurring at 3 a.m.

Meeghan Black, Public Information Officer for the Bellevue Police Department, confirmed on Monday that Reed was investigated in connection with the incident, which was initially reported by King 5, and that the case was referred to prosecutors for potential charges. Black said prosecutors then declined to pursue the case further.

In a statement Monday, the Seahawks said “We are aware of the situation involving Jarran Reed and have followed league and law enforcement protocol since the alleged incident in April of 2017.”

Reed released a statement via Twitter early Monday afternoon saying that he disagrees with the NFL’s decision but apologized “for putting myself in a position” to potentially be disciplined.

“I apologize to those close to me including my family, the entire Seattle Seahawks organization and fans of the team for putting myself in a position where I could be disciplined by the NFL,” Reed wrote. “While I totally disagree with the decision of the NFL, I still must accept it and take responsibility for the situation. I have learned from this and will do everything I can to make my friends, family, teammates, fans and the Seahawks proud of me moving forward.”

The NFL has sweeping power to discipline players and others associated with the league via its personal conduct policy.

It’s not known why the league waited for roughly 27 months before suspending Reed. The incident occurred following Reed’s rookie season and he has played each of the last two years since.

Reed can take part in training camp, which begins Thursday, and play in preseason games before the suspension takes hold. The Seahawks will then be able to replace his spot on the 53-man roster once the season begins and he serves his suspension. Reed can then return to the team for practice on Oct. 14, following the sixth game of the season against Cleveland on Oct. 13, and can return to play on Oct. 20 against the Baltimore Ravens at CenturyLink Field.

Reed is suspended without pay, which will cost him roughly $409,411 of his $1.16 million salary for the 2019 season.

For Reed, the news comes at a particularly vital time as he is entering the final year of his initial four-year rookie contract that was due to pay him $4.89 million overall (minus what he now will not get for his suspension).

Reed, though, has been hoping to get an extension after having had a career-high 10.5 sacks last season, and NFL observers thought it good news for him when Atlanta’s Grady Jarrett last week signed a new deal averaging $17 million per season.

“That helps really define the (defensive-tackle) market,” former NFL agent Joel Corry who now works for and other outlets told the Times of a contract that makes Jarrett the third-highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL, behind Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams and Fletcher Cox of Philadelphia, and that he thought Reed might want to match.

Seattle though, it is thought, is first hoping to get an extension completed with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, which could happen as early as this week.

More relevant in terms of Reed and for the Seahawks’ immediate plans is how to play the first six games of the season – which includes contests against some of the best offenses in the NFL such as the Steelers in Week 2, Saints in Week 3, Rams in Week 5 and Cleveland in Week 6 – without the player who is by far their best defensive tackle entering the 2019 season.

Seattle could look to try to bolster its defensive line with available veterans or other free agents, or also just rely on some younger players. But it will be difficult to make up for the overall presence of Reed, who played 773 defensive snaps last season, the most of any Seattle defensive linemen and 78% of Seattle’s defensive snaps overall.

Seattle has been projecting to have a starting defensive tackle duo of Reed and second-year player Poona Ford, who is replacing Shamar Stephen, last year’s other primary starter at tackle who signed with the Vikings as a free agent.

Seattle signed veteran free agents Al Woods and Jamie Meder in the offseason and each now looms as more critical players to help get the Seahawks through Reed’s suspension. Seattle had also been thought possibly interested in reuniting with Athyba Rubin, who started at tackle for Seattle in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the latter year working alongside Reed.

The Seahawks also selected tackle Demarcus Christmas of Florida State in the sixth round of the draft last April and also signed undrafted rookie free agents Bryan Mone of Michigan and Jay-Tee Tiuli of Eastern Washington. The team also lists veterans Quinton Jefferson and Nazir Jones as tackles, but each plays more of a role of the five-technique end spot in the base defense and moving inside in the nickel.

Reed was drafted in the second round out of Alabama in 2016 and has started 37 games in that time, playing in all but two of a possible 49 regular season and postseason games, starting 31 games the past two seasons.