James came in with the crown of his helmet and hit Dulin in the head and neck area after Dulin made a short catch. The hit sounded like something exploded on the field, and the crowd reacted immediately. Dulin was down for a few moments.
“We’ve watched a lot of football, I don’t know if I’ve seen a hit quite like that,” ESPN analyst Troy Aikman said.
James got a 15-yard penalty and was disqualified for the hit. That type of hit wasn’t outlawed decades ago, but it was shocking to see it in the current environment. Aikman was talking about it for a while after James was ejected.
“That was as big of a collision as I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Aikman said.
Dulin went back to the locker room shortly after the hit and was later ruled out with a concussion. Head coach Brandon Staley said after the Chargers’ win that James had entered concussion protocol. Dulin was defenseless on the play and James hit him in the head and neck with the crown of his helmet — it was practically a textbook example of what the NFL is trying to erase from the game.
While James reportedly won’t be suspended for his hit on Dulin, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, he could face a fine from the NFL for his aggressiveness. The standard fine for James’ hit could be as high as $21,218 for using his helmet, according to the NFL and NFL Players Association. A hit on a defenseless player comes with a slightly smaller fine of $15,914.