Mike Florio explained earlier on Tuesday that Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin should have been penalized for the helmet-to-helmet block that ended Bengals punter Kevin Huber’s season even though Huber was trying to make a tackle on the play.
Now NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino has confirmed it. During an appearance on NFL Network on Tuesday, Blandino said that Huber was considered a defenseless player on the play under the league’s rules and that the NFL wants to “flag hits like that” with 15-yard personal fouls.
“Huber, he’s a punter. And the key is he’s defenseless throughout the down,” Blandino said. “So even though he’s pursing 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.”
In other words, Garvin should expect to hear from league about a fine.
Huber broke his jaw and cracked vertebrae in his neck on the hit and was place on injured reserve on Tuesday. Blandino said that hits like that on punters would be a “point of emphasis” with officials this week.