You don’t have to think long and hard as a special teamer about what some of your favorite moments are when you have a couple of blocked punts on your resume. Pittsburgh Steelers safety Miles Killebrew has that under his belt. But a defender at heart, what has been his favorite hit in his career?
He actually had one readily at hand, speaking to Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller on 93.7 The Fan yesterday. Yet he was a bit hesitant to mention it due to the circumstances. Fortunately for us it wasn’t hard to find, given the context.
“I had one this year, and you’re never gonna see it because it’s on like, kickoff return”, he said. “I’m blocking someone, but, man. I tell you what, it was illegal, too, so I don’t want brag about it too much. I actually got fined pretty, pretty nice. It was an $8,000 fine. But dude, I got to, I had, I just got to lay someone out, man, and it felt so great. And I know it was wrong, but it was a business decision”.
Killebrew was only penalized once all season, so tracking it down wasn’t difficult. It occurred on the opening kickoff of the second half against the Carolina Panthers back in Week 15. He’s second-furthest to the right in this clip from the end zone view at the 50.
Sam Franklin Jr. got around Marcus Allen on a clear path to returner Steven Sims. Killebrew saw him get free and peeled back to lay the wood and put the defender on his butt. Sims ended up getting out to the 31 on the play—before the penalty.
“I made sure it was worth it”, he said. ”I had a split second. It happened so fast, but it’s fast enough that you can not do it, you know? But I had to do it, man. And I’m so thankful that it didn’t negate anything for us. We ended up having a nice drive afterwards. So, you know, it washes out”.
It might not look like the biggest hit in the world from far away, but consider the speed at which they’re playing on a kickoff return. He was officially charged with an illegal blindside block, which applies to any defenseless player blocked while the blocker (e.g.) Killebrew is moving toward or parallel to his own end zone and approaches the player from behind or the side.
It wasn’t because the hit itself was egregious in any way, but rather simply because it was a blindside block. And it did cost him a good chunk of change. But he thinks it was worth it. “Fines are tax deductible. I can figure it out. I don’t get fined often, but dude, in that moment”, he said, he just had to.
And as he mentioned, it didn’t end up hurting the Steelers. They went on to have a 21-play, 12-minute 91-yard touchdown drive, starting from their own nine instead of the 31 because of the penalty.
I would say no harm no foul, but…