We all learned a little bit more about the NFL rule book this week thanks to Kevin Huber.
The Cincinnati Bengals punter was sent to injured reserve after being on the losing end of a vicious block by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin on Sunday night. The NFL later announced Garvin's hit should've been penalized because punters are considered "defenseless throughout the down."
It's a designation that doesn't sit well with some of the men who punt for a living.
"Honestly, I wasn't even aware of that rule," Ryan told SI.com. "I always kind of thought that once you got down there (on a return), you were fair game."
Ryan doesn't consider himself "defenseless."
"Well, I don't think you should just punt the ball and walk off the field," he said. "You're still a football player. I'm not trying to say that it was a clean hit by any means, but once a punter goes down there, he's fair game."
Garvin was fined $25,000 for his block of Huber. The penalty certainly was warranted, but the hit and subsequent league reaction reinforced the stigma that punters aren't real football players. They can't win.