During his Tuesday press conference, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if linebacker Terence Garvin did what he was supposed to do as it relates to his block on Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber during the Sunday night punt return for a touchdown by Antonio Brown. While Tomlin first answered, “yes”, he went on to clarify that the hit itself is not what has been taught.
“What he’s coached to do and what transpired on that play are two different things,” said Tomlin. “Obviously, from a structure of a call standpoint, the position that he was in, to be a final block if you will, is what he’s coached to do.
“The nature in which the block unfolded, obviously, is not what we’re looking for. It’s not what we coach, it’s not what he wants, but that play hit pretty quickly – was right back up the field at him and it transpired the way it transpired. So we’ll wait for potential judgment from the league, just like you guys are.”
Tomlin was not willing to debate whether or not the rule to protect the punter is fair or not, but only that he acknowledges that it does exist. He also clarified the rule as it relates to other players on the field.
“They have additional protection, just like people in the act of catching footballs, or people in the act of throwing footballs, or defenders at the end of the line of scrimmage from crack blocks and so forth,” said Tomlin. “They’re a lot of guys in the NFL that have extended protection in an effort to make the game as safe as it possibly can be.”
While Tomlin didn’t say it specifically, it appears as though he expects Garvin to be fined for his hit on Huber, which resulted in the punter being placed on injured reserve with a broken jaw. If you are curious as to what the rulebook says, I posted those excerpts in this Monday post.