It appears that he didn't fit the bill this time around.
When Kevin Huber suffered a season-ending... upper body injury (broken jaw and hairline fracture of cervical vertebrae), Cincinnati signed Shaun Powell to replace him. After two games and a 10-yard punt against the Baltimore Ravens in the regular season finale, Powell was released and the team signed former Steelers and Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko to play in the postseason game against San Diego. It was so-so.
As for Huber, the hit that caused the injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers was ruled illegal by the NFL, despite no penalty being thrown on the play.
"Huber, he's a punter. And the key is he's defenseless throughout the down," Blandino said Tuesday on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access." "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."
"This is an illegal block. It should have been a flag for a 15-yard penalty," Blandino went on. "You'll see the close up where you can see the contact to the head or neck area. So this will certainly be a point of emphasis this week, especially with our referees who are responsible for the punter on plays like this.
"We have to watch the punter, he's defenseless. And we want to flag hits like that."
However, it appears that he'll be ready to participate in the team's offseason training program. Writes Paul Dehner Jr. with the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Kevin is doing fine, I've seen him a number of times this offseason. He's out of the neck brace and close to full recovery. He will be on the field and participating in full for the training program when it kicks up.