(Reuters) - The NFL has suspended Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed for one game without pay for an illegal hit in Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the league said on Monday. Reed was penalized for unnecessary roughness in the third quarter of the game following a hit to the head and neck area of defenseless receiver Emmanuel Sanders. It was the third violation in three years for the eight-time Pro Bowler, causing the NFL to take action. "We cannot tolerate repeated violations of rules, especially rules related to player safety," NFL executive vice-president of football operations Ray Anderson said in a statement. "We will continue to take the strongest possible action to deter these types of violations and protect our players." Should Reed opt to not appeal the ban, he will be scheduled to miss Baltimore's game against San Diego on Sunday. The experienced Reed is key member of a Ravens defense that is already missing injured Ray Lewis but Baltimore (8-2) have still managed to forge a two-game lead in the AFC North Division.