NFL.com's Albert Breer had the news on Twitter:
As my pal @artrellhawkins said, Steelers LB Terence Garvin has been fined $25,000 for his hit on Bengals P Kevin Huber.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 18, 2013
The NFL announced on Tuesday that Garvin's vicious, season-ending hit on Huber late in the first quarter of Pittsburgh's 30-20 win was indeed illegal, according to CBS Sports NFL writer Josh Katzowitz. The NFL's vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, told the NFL Network the block should have been flagged because Garvin contacted the head area in addition to the fact that Huber, as a punter, is "defenseless," per Katzowitz:
This is an illegal block. It should have been a flag for a 15-yard penalty. You'll see the close-up where you can see the contact to the head or neck area. So, this will certainly be a point of emphasis this week, especially with our referees who are responsible for the punter on plays like this.
We have to watch the punter, he's defenseless. And we want to flag hits like that.
Huber will miss the remainder of the 2013 season after suffering a broken jaw and a cracked vertebrae as a result of the hit, per ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen on Twitter:
Bengals punter Kevin Huber not only suffered broken jaw but also a cracked vertebrae in his neck on block by Steelers' Gavin. Headed to IR.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 16, 2013
In case you missed it, the video below shows the hit in question. It occurred during Antonio Brown's 67-yard punt return touchdown in the first quarter. While Huber may have had a chance to stop Brown from reaching the end zone, there's no doubt that Garvin's block was gratuitous:
Despite being badly banged up, Huber was a good sport afterward, poking fun at the highlight-reel hit on Twitter one day later:
And now by popular demand.. I have found a pic worthy of my new avatar! Enjoy everyone— Kevin Huber (@khuber10) December 17, 2013
In response to Garvin's big hit, a seven-year-old Bengals fan wrote the following letter to Huber in which he wishes the punter a speedy recovery but wishes the worst for Garvin:
Kicker Mike Nugent took over punting duties, and quarterback Andy Dalton became the holder on field goals and extra points after Huber went down in Sunday night's loss.
The Bengals signed 25-year-old Shawn Powell, formerly of the Buffalo Bills, to replace Huber ahead of their Week 16 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. Powell has a booming leg but has struggled with accuracy and hang time early in his NFL career.
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