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Report: Jordan Whitehead expected to be fined for hit on Baker Mayfield

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead is expected to be fined by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield during last Sunday’s game even though officials picked up the flag, per Rick Stroud of The Tampa Tribune.

The play in question occurred during the fourth quarter of the Bucs’ 26-23 overtime win. Mayfield had scrambled for a 35-yard run on second-and-26. As Mayfield entered his slide, Whitehead dove and led with his helmet, making contact with Mayfield’s head.

Referee Shawn Hochuli’s explanation why a flag was picked up was suspect at best.

The NFL has declined any official comment, an unidentified source indicated Whitehead should have been penalized on the play.

Bucs head coach Dick Koetter has since provided some insight that adds an interesting wrinkle to how the situation played out.

“I did not get a great explanation for that,” Koetter said Wednesday. “What they said on the field was it’s a helmet-to-helmet hit and then (Mayfield) got up and taunted our guy, so then they threw the second flag. Somehow, they worked it out that they were picking up both flags. Where I was on the field, I didn’t see it as a helmet-to-helmet (hit). But when you look at it on tape, it clearly was, and I guess the fallout from that is what it is.”

All that said, Whitehead ought to expect to hear from the league office about a fine, which are typically levied on Saturdays. If Whitehead is indeed fined, perhaps that will provide some semblance of solace to Mayfield, who was not pleased with Hochuli’s explanation, to say the least.