PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers made a lot of big plays during their big win against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, but the block made by rookie linebacker Terence Garvin to spring Antonio Brown for the remaining distance on his 67-yard punt return for a touchdown was all the rage.
Garvin drilled Bengals punter Kevin Huber in the chest, but also clipped him in the jaw with the follow-through. Huber was evaluated on the field before jogging to the locker room with gauze in his mouth. He was diagnosed with a broken jaw and cracked vertebra. Huber said afterward that he will have oral surgery on an area around his chin this week.
"All I know is that I turned, saw the guy and hit him, and the next thing I know I hit him in his chin. So, it happened very quickly, and there wasn't much time to think about it. (But) I thought I hit him in his chest. I was aiming for his chest.''
That's probably irrelevant when one considers where the hit finished, the damage done on the player and who the player was, a punter. Even though they can make a tackle on special teams and Huber attempted to do that, blocking them like Garvin did could be considered a hit on a defenseless player.
Fines for that are $21,000 for first-time offenders and $42,000 for second offense. It's difficult to imagine that the NFL would nick Garvin for $21,000, since his game checks are around $23,824. He makes the NFL minimum at $405,000 this year, so that would be a heckuva hit, so to speak.
"I'm sure, if they thought it was vicious or some sort of intent there,'' Garvin said. "Then, I'm sure that I'll be fined. But I was just trying to make a play and help my team out. I wasn't trying to hurt anybody or do anything vicious or anything like that. I was just trying to help my team by making a play.
"All I saw was a Cincinnati player trying to make a tackle, and I just felt like I could help by blocking him to keep him from making the tackle. That's all it was. I wouldn't say that the rule is unfair, because punters have rights and rules to help them just like other guys have rights and rules, like quarterbacks.
"So, you have to defend people the way that they feel those players need to be defended,'' Garvin added. "And I have to play the way that I've been taught to play. And I'm going to keep playing how I play. I'm going to try to play physical, and I'm going to try to play the way I grew up playing. I guess you have to think about things before you do them, but you still have to fly around and make plays the best that you can and the best way that you know how to do it.''
Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor didn't offer much of an opinion, other than to say that whatever the league decided would be the way things would go. He was asked again about the hit, but basically repeated his initial response.
"Whatever the league says, that's how the ruling's going to go,'' Taylor said. "A lot of things happen in football that aren't fair. So, we've just got to roll with the punches. That's how it is in the NFL.''
Garvin appeared to accept his punishment, whatever degree it takes. He has not yet reached out to Huber or the Bengals, but he expected to do something.
"I'll probably say something to him, just to let him know that I'm praying for him and hope that he gets healthy,'' Garvin said.
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