First of all, let me give a tip of the cap to Terence Garvin for his overall play on Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. Not only did the rookie UDFA perform well in his short stint on the defensive side of the ball, he was an absolute monster for the Steelers on special teams.
While sissies and NFL company men like Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk are grousing about the non-call on Garvin’s decleating block on Cincinnati’s punter Kevin Huber, I for one saw nothing wrong with what the linebacker did to spring Antonio Brown on his 67-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Granted, punters and kickers are considered defenseless players at all times according to the league’s pathetic standards. So with that in mind, Garvin’s block itself was probably a penalty under the league’s new rules. Yet why is nobody trying to expose the rule itself as a complete and total joke?
If kickers and punters are on the field and capable of making plays on return men, then why should they be subject to special treatment? Heck, Huber and punters around the league can do the following things if they do not wish to be exposed to any physical harm on the football field:
- Keep their heads on swivels while they try to make themselves the last lines of defense against touchdowns or long returns.
- Wear larger helmets with facemasks that extend below the jaw line.
- Run towards the sidelines if they do not want to be contacted at all.
If one goes back and watches the replay, Garvin’s hit was not unnecessary in the least bit. In fact, why do you readers think Brown had acres of space after he crossed Cincinnati’s 30-yard line? Pittsburgh’s backup linebacker throttled Cincinnati’s last line of defense on the play. Last time I checked, kickers and punters were still capable of making tackles on return men.
If Huber wants to make a tackle after a punt, then that’s fine and dandy. I just wish he realized that there are always 10 other players on the field who will stop at nothing to get in his way so their teammate can put points on the board.
Due to the fact that all physicality and aggressiveness is being removed from the game of football due to the league’s fear of future lawsuits, I am sure that Garvin will draw a heavy fine for making what used to be a tremendous special teams play. Likely fine aside, kickers and punters should not receive special treatment if they wish to make plays on the football.
Huber learned that the hard way last night, and it was a shame that his jaw was broken and had a vertebrae cracked. It was him, and nobody else who made the conscious decision to chase down Brown when he broke free. Unfortunately for Huber, it was Garvin who finished the play at his expense.
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