Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber averaged 45.7 yards on 66 punts this season. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Pittsburgh linebacker Terence Garvin was fined $25,000 for the bone-crushing block he laid on Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber in Week 15, according to multiple reports.
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said Tuesday that the play warranted a 15-yard flag on Garvin, though one was not thrown as Antonio Brown raced to the end zone for a Steelers touchdown.
"Huber, he's a punter. And the key is he's defenseless throughout the down," Blandino told the NFL Network. "So even though he's pursuing the play, he still gets defenseless-player protection. You can't hit him in the head or neck, and you can't use the crown or forehead parts of the helmet to the body."
Huber suffered a fractured jaw and a cracked vertebra, injuries that will cause him to miss the remainder of the 2013 season. The Bengals signed Shawn Powell to replace him.
"It's not an easy thing to watch," Huber said Tuesday when asked if Garvin's hit was a cheap shot. "It's not my job to make that decision. He came for a block, he got me blocked, and they scored a touchdown. It worked out for them on that play. It’s too bad it happened. I wish I could be out there playing."
About 24 hours after making that comment, Huber was even less critical of Garvin's play, per ESPN.com.
"It is what it is,' he said. "It's part of the game, I know -- big hits. Unfortunately I got one of the big hits, and I've got to deal with it. I'll be fine. I'll be back next year."