Bengals punter: Big hits are 'part of the game'
While addressing reporters for the first time since taking a season-ending blindside hit Sunday night, Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber expressed no ill feelings Wednesday toward the Pittsburgh Steelers player whose vicious block caused the injury.
CINCINNATI -- While addressing reporters for the first time since taking a season-ending blindside hit Sunday night, Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber expressed no ill feelings Wednesday toward the Pittsburgh Steelers player whose vicious block caused the injury.
"There really is not much I can do about it now," Huber said. "Me just getting mad and stressing about it is only going to make it harder to get through.
"It is what it is. It's part of the game, I know -- big hits. Unfortunately I got one of the big hits, and I've got to deal with it. I'll be fine. I'll be back next year."
The first-quarter block from Terence Garvin, who was reportedly fined $25,000 by the league on Wednesday, ended up breaking Huber's jaw and cracking vertebrae in his back. Immediately after the game, Huber's jaw was wired shut so that the bone could be reset.
After an MRI the next day revealed the cracked vertebrae, Huber was placed in a neck brace. He will wear the brace, as he was at his locker Wednesday, for possibly another two weeks.
NFL head of officials Dean Blandino was critical of Ed Hochuli's officiating crew Tuesday night, saying it got the play wrong. Garvin's hit wasn't clean by rule and should have been deemed illegal, Blandino said. Instead, after Garvin's helmet-to-facemask blow opened a wide hole in the middle of the field, punt returner Antonio Brown flashed through and sprinted free for a 67-yard touchdown. The score extended Pittsburgh's lead to 21-0 and was a key play in the Steelers' 30-20 win.
"Huber, he's a punter. And the key is he's defenseless throughout the down," Blandino said on NFL Network. "Even though he's pursuing the play, he still gets defenseless-player protection. You can't hit him in the head or neck, and you can't use the crown or forehead parts of the helmet to the body."
Garvin should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, Blandino said.
"It's great they said it, but at the end of the day, it doesn't do anything now," Huber said of the apology.
Huber added that he hadn't yet heard from Garvin or the Steelers and didn't expect to.
"If some guy would call to apologize for every hit they made, guys would be on the phone all the time," Huber said.
Huber may be on the phone soon enough, though. Garvin told reporters in Pittsburgh on Wednesday that he planned to express his remorse to Huber.
"I'll probably say something to him, let him know I'm praying for him and hope he gets healthy," the rookie linebacker said.
Huber has been told that, after oral surgery Friday, it will take four to six weeks before he's well enough to start punting again. Until then, rest, rehab and a steady diet of smoothies and supplement drinks are on tap.
Garvin said he expects to be fined by the NFL, although he hasn't heard from the league.
"I fell down on the play, and I got up and saw [Brown] coming toward me so I was like, 'Oh, I've got to try and help him break on this play,'" Garvin said. "I wasn't out there trying to be vicious.
"When you're in the game, you're really just trying to make a play and help your team out."
ESPN.com Steelers reporter Scott Brown contributed to this report.
- Plane emergency reported at Philly airport 7 min ago
- Official: Airliner communications shut down separately
- Emails show close ties between Duke, NC regulators
- Teen faces sexting charges following social media mistake
- Couple, suspect, officer killed in Burke County 23 min ago
- Graco adds more than 403,000 child seats to recall 16 min ago
- Suspect in Sanford shooting death arrested
- Parents hope bone marrow drive can save son
- Photos: $2.35 million Modern Family home for sale
- Bank robbed in Franklinton
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos