Injured Bengals punter Kevin Huber made a surprise visit to the locker room Wednesday, wearing a giant neck brace, but blaming himself for the hit that put him in one.
Huber suffered a broken jaw and a cracked vertebrae after being hit by Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin. He said he’d have surgery to repair his jaw Friday, after it was temporarily wired shut Sunday night. He said his neck should heal without surgery, and he has all his teeth, so he’s got that going for him.
“I’m good. I’m feeling pretty good. The pain’s pretty good, pretty tolerable. It’s more uncomfortable than anything,” Huber said, via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Though the hit was illegal, and the league said a flag should have been thrown for hitting a defenseless player, Huber said he was as upset about punting the ball straight down the middle, allowing Antonio Brown to return it for a touchdown.
“I mean, that was the worst part of everything, it was my fault to begin with,” Huber said.
He said he’s heard from a few sympathetic punters, but hadn’t heard from Garvin and didn’t expect to or need to.
“If some guy would call to apologize for every hit they made, guys would be on the phone all the time,” Huber said. “I’m not expecting any calls.”
Huber was placed on injured reserve, and said there’s no reason he shouldn’t return next year, largely taking the high road.
“There’s not really much I can do about it now,” he said. “Me getting mad and stressed 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 got hurt and I have to deal with it. I’ll be fine. I’ll be back next year. It’s unfortunate and disappointing I can’t be playing right now, going forward in these last couple of games to get into the playoffs. I can get mad all I want, but what’s that going to do?”
Garvin can only hope the league is as forgiving when it’s time for fines to come out, but that’s unlikely.