Detroit Lions punt returner/wide receiver Kalif Raymond has been named the NFC Week 15 Special Teams Player of the Week.
Raymond won the award after posting a key punt return touchdown in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. It was a perfect moment of all the Lions units working together. The Lions offense drove all the way down the field, but stalled in the red zone and turned it over on downs. The defense forced a quick three-and-out, forcing a punt deep in Jets territory, and Raymond did the rest with this impressive punt return.
This also happened to be a very emotional moment for Raymond, who was once cut from the Jets after muffing several punts in New York. The play earned Raymond a game ball from Dan Campbell after the game.
“He’s selfless, he’s disciplined, he’s a hard worker,” Campbell said after the game. “He’s smart, he’s productive, he endears himself to his teammates, he’s versatile, he can block, he can play in the slot, he can play outside, he’s got run after catch, he’s a damn good punt returner.”
He is, indeed. Through 15 weeks of the regular season, Raymond is now No. 2 in the NFL with a 14.6-yard return average (minimum 10 returns).
Raymond becomes the fifth Lions player to earn Player of the Week honors. Amon-Ra St. Brown won it back in Week 2 (Washington), Kerby Joseph was named it in Week 9 (Packers), Aidan Hutchinson won it in Week 10 (Giants) , and Michael Badgley won it in Week 13 (Jaguars).
Per the Lions PR Twitter account, this is only the third time in franchise history the Lions have had five different players earn Player of the Week honors, joining the 1997 and 1993 Lions teams. Both of those teams made the playoffs, by the way.