The NFL has made a bit of a display of announcing fines this season, putting them out there the Saturday before the next Sunday's action for the prior week. It's surely a concerted public effort to highlight bad plays made during the previous week's action, so as to be a deterrent.
For Week 10, Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond was fined $15,138 for leading with his helmet during a block on Chargers' safety Derwin James during the third quarter of last Sunday's game.
James was fined $43,710 for an earlier hit on Lions' wide receiver Josh Reynolds, and he was of course given a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.
For all he does well for the Lions, no one would call a smaller guy like Raymond a devastating blocker. He does it when called upon, but he's not out there de-cleating or pancaking defenders with reckless abandon.
Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond gets questionable fine for block vs. Chargers
Justin Rogers of the Detroit News and the folks over at Pride of Detroit found the play in question involving Raymond.
Raymond clearly engaged James high in order to have his best chance to effectively block him. But led with his helmet, like the fine suggested?
Raymond's head was ahead of his body as he moved, but by the time he engaged James his arms/shoulders were up to initiate the contact and deliver a blow. It's not like he hit James with the crown of his helmet, which would have dangerous to himself and the Chargers' safety. If he had led with his helmet, that's the kind of thing the NFL wants to (rightfully) eliminate from the game. But Raymond didn't lead with his helmet in the way we see it often times.
James clearly didn't like Raymond's block, which led to a little scuffle at the end of the play. But Raymond was fined for what was essentially an aggressive block, in the direction the play went to boot.