Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin was fined $25,000 by the NFL for a hit on Bengals punter Kevin Huber in Pittsburgh's 30-20 win over Cincinnati in Week 15. Garvin was not penalized for the play, but Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said recently he expected a fine.
Punters, by rule, are considered defenseless players, even when in pursuit of a ball carrier, which Huber appeared to be. Antonio Brown returned the punt Huber had kicked 67 yards for a touchdown, part of Pittsburgh's 21-point first quarter.
Huber suffered a fractured jaw on the play, and has been placed on injured reserve. Reports indicate he had a bruised vertebrae as well, although some reports indicated it may have been the result of a separate injury.
Garvin said he didn't realize the player he hit was the punter until he was told later.
The hit was the subject of considerable controversy on social media and around the internet, leading to more divided stances on the increasing level of scrutiny over rules implemented in the name of safety in the NFL.
Regardless, the point was made; the punter can hit the ball carrier, but the punter can't be hit above the shoulders.