The NFL fined Steelers rookie linebacker Terence Garvin $25,000 for a block he threw on Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber that broke his jaw last Sunday. The block helped spring Antonio Brown to a 67-yard touchdown return.
Garvin makes just short of $24,000 weekly with his rookie minimum salary.
Although punters wear the same uniforms as their teammates, they are afforded special protection under NFL rules.
“Huber, he’s a punter. And the key is he’s defenseless throughout the down,” Dean Blandino, who supervises NFL officials, told the NFL Network. “So 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 explained his actions on the punt return.
“Actually, I fell on the play, I got up, I saw a color and I saw A.B. coming towards me. I said I have to try to help him break on this play. I was just trying to do what I could to help him break the play.”
Of punters, Garvin said, “They’re part of the team, they’re on the field, they can make plays the same way everybody else can make plays.”