KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt drew a fine of $26,739 from the NFL for lowering his helmet to initiate contact on a play during the team's 27-23 win over Denver Monday night.
The NFL's weekly officiating video released Friday singled out Hunt for lowering his helmet. Al Riveron, the league's senior vice president of officiating, said on the video Hunt should have received a 15-yard penalty on the play.
"He's going to lower his head and initiate contact on an opponent," Riveron said on the video. "If you watch the defender, he's standing still. He's not initiating contact, he's bracing for contact. However the runner has choices, and he chooses to lower his head and initiate contact."
The incident occurred midway through the first quarter. Hunt took a short pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes for a 27-yard gain to the Denver 18-yard line. As Hunt approached Broncos safety Justin Simmons at the end of his run, he lowered his helmet in an effort to run through the tackle.
Had officials correctly assessed the penalty, the Chiefs would have faced a first-and-29 at their own 40-yard line.
Four plays later, kicker Harrison Butker connected on a 33-yard field goal to tie the game 3-3.
The NFL adopted the new helmet rule during the offseason, and its enforcement continues sparking controversy. The rule change applies to any player on the field, which means offensive players such as Hunt can pick up a penalty. The flag results in a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down if on the defense. Players can draw an ejection if officials rule the act flagrant.
Hunt's fine accounts for approximately 75 percent of his weekly weekly game check calculated from his $540,000 base salary.