Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Punters Should Run to the Sidelines If They Are Always Defenseless


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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Tags: Kevin Huber Pittsburgh Steelers Terence Garvin

  • TheDman113

    So he had no choice but to lead with his helmet and hit him in the chin?

    • FredZarguna

      He didn’t lead with his helmet. His forearms clearly make contact first.

      • TheDman113

        He did in fact lead with his helmet. It’s right there in the video.

        • Dom DiTolla

          Facemask and forearms hit him in the chest first. Unfortunate turn of events, but Huber (6’1″ 212 lbs.) chose to make a play on Brown and got blasted by a guy (6’3″ 221 lbs.) parallel to him.

          I wonder how many Bengals fans would be upset if Vincent Rey did the same thing to Mat McBriar though. Probably not many.

          • TheDman113

            No, they didn’t. Take the homer glasses off. If he was hit in the chest first, he wouldn’t have a broken jaw and neck.

          • Dom DiTolla

            He broke his jaw because he wasn’t wearing a mouthpiece or a facemask which extended below his chin. Garvin’s helmet came up as he was finishing the textbook block after it hit his chest.

            The force of the hit caused his neck to snap back and that’s what caused that particular injury. Maybe you should take the homer glasses off. :)

            The play is over so there’s no use bitching about it. I just hope that Huber can get healthy and the play itself serves as a lesson to all kickers and punters to keep their heads on swivels if and when they try to make plays on the football.

          • TheDman113

            Yes, when my neck snaps back my jaw instantly breaks. Seriously, do you homers even read what you type?

            Video and screencaps all over the web prove his helmet hit first. Denial doesn’t make you right, it makes you look ridiculous.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Look where his helmet is though, his chest! As he finished the block he went directly into his chin and helmet in what used to be textbook fashion.

            I’m sure Garvin will be fined, as I alluded to in the post, but the point of this article is to illustrate how pathetic the rule is regarding kickers and punters. They can enter the plays at their own risk, yet are still classified as defenseless? Give me a break. Garvin simply finished what Huber wanted to start when he tried to corral Brown on that particular play.

            Huber should have learned A) to wear a mouthpiece and adult football gear so broken jaws don’t happen, B) keep his head on a swivel for oncoming blockers, and C) know where the hell he was on the field. If he didn’t want to get hit, he should have headed to the sidelines.

            I hope you enjoy watching another win-less postseason in Cincinnati though.

          • TheDman113

            “Look where his helmet is though, his chest!”

            Huber’s injury would argue otherwise! I’ve never seen such a blind case of homerism before. Leave it to Steeler fans. Enjoy your game-less postseason LOL!

          • Erik Baran

            I’m not a Steeler fan and I say it was a text book block on an NFL player who was moving to attempt a tackle. Watch the video, not a screen grab.

          • TheDman113

            I did, it shows a hit to the chin too. Video, screen grab, whatever you choose, you can’t hide from the facts.

          • Dom DiTolla

            If I was a Bengals fan, I’d be less worried about what Garvin did and more worried about Baltimore catching Cincinnati in the AFC North standings and whether or not Andy Dalton is a competent quarterback who can win in January. LOL!

          • TheDman113

            If I were a Steelers fan, I’d be worried about how I’m going to spend my Sundays in 3 weeks.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Lol, probably the same way you will in four weeks. Except I won’t be panicking over Andy Dalton turning in another egg-laying performance during postseason play.

          • TheDman113

            There you go.

  • FredZarguna

    First, his forearms are in front of his helmet, and it is clear that the brunt of the blow is delivered to the chest. So contrary to what numerous morons are saying today, it was not a deliberate hit with the crown of the helmet.
    The bigger issue, that Garvin should be fined anyway, because kickers and punters are “always defenseless players.” Is pure horse(radish.) In the original rule proposal, punters and kickers were only considered defenseless _during the kick_. When finally voted on for 2013, the rule was changed to include during the kick _and return._
    Why is a player who’s allowed to block, tackle, or in any other way impede the return of a kick permitted the status of “always defenseless?” If the status of kickers and punters is “always defenseless” they should be forced to run out of bounds without making ANY CONTACT WHATSOEVER with any other player, and it should be a fifteen yard penalty if it can be determined they have materially participated in the play following the kick.

    • TheDman113

      “First, his forearms are in front of his helmet, and it is clear that the brunt of the blow is delivered to the chest.”

      LOL!! Yes of course, that’s why his jaw was broken, because his jaw is in the middle of his chest.

      • Erik Baran

        Watch the video. He lowers his head, leads with his shoulder and plants his face mask in his chest. Text book. Punters can’t have it both ways. What, are the supposed to get a free shot at the ball carrier?

        • TheDman113

          So Huber’s jaw is in his chest?

  • bk

    Hits like that are why I watch football.. Unfortunate that the punter was injured, but, he needs to wear proper gear… why wasn’t he wearing a mouthpiece? The replay shows that if not
    blocked, he would have impeded the runner enough to stop the TD.. that was his job…
    Garvin’s job is to block players. He did the better job.

    • Dom DiTolla

      Thank you. Huber had enough of an angle on Brown that he would have impeded him enough so he wouldn’t have scored. Garvin, who is essentially the same size as Huber, just did his job better. Kickers and Punters can enter these situations at their own risk, and they have nobody to blame but themselves.

  • Mike

    You’re right – kickers and punters shouldn’t receive special treatment. That kind of hit was downright criminal against ANY kind of player. Not only was it delivered into the head with the full force of the blocker, but it was done so on his blindside without any means for the defender to prepare himself. A similar hit could easily have injured any other player and such tactics should be discouraged in order to ensure the safety of football for the future.

  • lkw

    Its the hines ward rule…didn’t he do the same to Keith rivers. you don’t have to like the rule to see it was a blatant penalty. I loved the play Hines made but people called him dirty after that, the difference it wasnt against the rules then it is now. Heads up, don’t lower your head…