The Detroit Lions recently rewarded wide receiver Kalif Raymond with a contract extension. But just because he has received that piece of validation, don't count on him slowing down.
Raymond has gotten noticed as one of the hardest working players on the team, a mindset that's easy to expect after he went undrafted out of Holy Cross in 2016.
Speaking to Podium Podcast (h/t to Woodward Sports), Raymond discussed his draft party, where there was a celebratory mood but he wasn't fired up by the experience.
"During the time of the draft, everybody had class. So it's just me. I was just on the computer looking stuff out. It's funny because the Denver Broncos called and said 'hey, we want to sign you to a free agent contract.' And my boys, they threw a party. And I'm not even in the party. Everybody's outside partying, I'm like, I got to make this thing work. The work is here now. Yeah, I didn't party that night. From that point on, it was all ball."- Kalif Raymond
Raymond knew what he was getting into, as the work was just beginning to try to stick in the league. After spending 2016 with the Broncos, 2017 brought stints with the New York Jets and New York Giants. The following year was spent mostly on the Tennessee Titans' practice squad, with a brief second stint with the Giants. He played 23 games for the Titans over the 2019 and 2020 seasons, before signing with the Lions in 2021.
Raymond has become one of the best punt returners in the NFL, as he has clearly found a home in Detroit.
Kalif Raymond motivated by Amon-Ra St. Brown's work ethic
Amon-Ra St. Brown has also gained respect as one of the hardest working Lions, and he gives Raymond a level to shoot for.
Raymond explained the dynamic to Justin Rogers of The Detroit News fairly early in camp.
Like St. Brown carries a chip on his shoulder the size of the 16 wide receivers who were drafted before him, Raymond is himself driven by his journey through a few teams before he got his first real shot with the Lions.